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Story of Women (1988)
"Une affaire de femmes" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  February 1990 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,043 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 28 critic

During World War II, in occupied France, a woman of limited schooling raises two children in a ratty flat. She is Marie Latour. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from the front, too weak to... See full summary »

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(scenario & adaptation), (scenario & adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 13 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Marie
...
Paul
Marie Trintignant ...
Lulu / Lucie
Nils Tavernier ...
Lucien
Lolita Chammah ...
Mouche #2
Aurore Gauvin ...
Mouche #1
Guillaume Foutrier ...
Pierrot #1
Nicolas Foutrier ...
Pierrot #2
Marie Bunel ...
Ginette
...
Jasmine
Evelyne Didi ...
Fernande
Dani ...
Loulou
François Maistre ...
Le président Lamarre-Coudray
Vincent Gauthier ...
Me Fillon / Judge Fillon
Myriam David ...
Rachel
Edit

Storyline

During World War II, in occupied France, a woman of limited schooling raises two children in a ratty flat. She is Marie Latour. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from the front, too weak to hold a job. Marie discovers she can make money performing abortions, using a soapy water douche. Many of her clients are knocked up by occupying Germans. She buys better food and clothes, looks for a new flat, and, through an acquaintance who is a prostitute, rents out her bedrooms to hookers during the day. She's indifferent to Paul; his humiliations grow as does her income. She hopes to be a singer. Male Vichy umbrage and moral hypocrisy may upend her. What is she thinking? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Story of Women  »

Box Office

Gross:

$438,483 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based upon the true story of Marie-Louise Giraud. See more »

Soundtracks

Le poéme de l'amour et de la mer
Written by Ernest Chausson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Chabrol's best
30 September 2005 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Based on a real-life miscarriage of justice, it's a surprisingly even-handed film that steps aside from the cheap manipulative emotionalism that riddles Mike Leigh's Vera Drake to present the good, the bad and the ugly sides of its abortionist protagonist without resorting to easy judgements. It's not a cry for or against abortion, merely offering the facts to the viewer to make up their own mind. Huppert's character is amoral in the purest sense of the word: she's not a crusader but a capitalist, doing favors and letting out her spare room to whores not out of principles but because she can make a good living out of it. More than that, she enjoys the role reversal and power it gives her as she becomes the breadwinner, keeping her husband (Francois Cluzet excellent in what could have been a nothing role) out of the way and out of her bed while she openly pursues other men. Only once does she stop to consider the moral consequences, but the moment quickly passes and it's back to business as usual. One side-effect of this is that the film never moves you, rather it engages you, but it manages to do so on many different levels.

It's not really a film about abortion but about sexual inequality and the corrupt patriarchical 'morality' of the Vichy government and the way they visited their own sins upon the population in the name of redeeming the nation's surrender through eliminating 'moral weakness.' But in this case it manages to deal with multiple themes and a more convincing look at human nature than Leigh's one-dimensional Vera Drake

  • Marie is no idealised heroine, but that still doesn't justify her


fate. The fact that Chabrol is surprisingly even handed and refuses to take moral sides only strengthens the film - this is a filmmaker on top of his game and with enough confidence in the material not to feel the need to make special pleading. There are weaknesses to the film, but they pale compared to its strengths, not least his unfussy and visually economic portrait of an occupied nation in denial of both its defeat and its own hypocrisy and weakness. As the film makes chillingly clear, the defeat gave the French the perfect opportunity to take revenge upon themselves.


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