When Betty is caught en flagrante, her bourgeois in-laws and husband force a divorce settlement upon her and bar her from seeing her two daughters. She is rescued from an alcoholic stupor ... See full summary »
When Betty is caught en flagrante, her bourgeois in-laws and husband force a divorce settlement upon her and bar her from seeing her two daughters. She is rescued from an alcoholic stupor by Laure, a middle-aged woman who takes Betty to her hotel lodgings, extends friendship and care, and listens to her story. Laure's lover, Mario, the proprietor of the bar where Betty and Laure met, is first a friend, then Betty's next conquest. Written by
I am surprised, and a little dismayed, at how cold and passionless this adaptation of a Simenon book is. I haven't read Betty, but those works of Simenon I am familiar with don't make me reach for the thermostat the way Chabrol's film does. La veuve Couderc, Maigret et l'affaire St-Fiacre, Monsieur Hire, to name just three, have an engagement with life that is sorely lacking in this trifle. Why tell the story in fragmented style, à la Memento or Amores perros, when a straightforward sequential narration would do fine? Why use a character just to describe Betty's emotional states when we can guess at these from the visual evidence? Marie Trintignant conveys Betty's vapid, eager-to-please behaviour very well. Booze does blunt the emotions, increase or decrease aggression, make one sexually irresponsible just as we see on screen. Stéphane Audran as Laure drinks almost as much as Betty, but cannot forget she has feelings, is capable of compassion. Chabrol concentrates on satirizing the bourgeois family to the exclusion of practically everything else in the story.
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