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To Matthieu (2000)
"Selon Matthieu" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  10 January 2001 (France)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 251 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

Matthieu and Eric are two brothers who work at the same factory as their father in Normandy. When his father is dismissed for smoking on the factory floor, Matthieu is incensed and tries to have him reinstated, in vain. His brother has just got married and, with a child and mortgage on the way, is reluctant to stir up trouble. Likewise, Matthieu's fellow workers refuse to get involved. Then ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Matthieu Debris
...
Claire
Antoine Chappey ...
Eric
Fred Ulysse ...
Father
Jean-Marie Winling ...
Factory's owner
Françoise Bette ...
Mother
Mélanie Leray ...
Eric's wife
Virginie Dessevre ...
Matthieu's friend (as Virginie Dessèvre)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patrick Chauvel ...
Union representative 2
Rémy Roubakha ...
Union representative 1
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Storyline

Matthieu and Eric are two brothers who work at the same factory as their father in Normandy. When his father is dismissed for smoking on the factory floor, Matthieu is incensed and tries to have him reinstated, in vain. His brother has just got married and, with a child and mortgage on the way, is reluctant to stir up trouble. Likewise, Matthieu's fellow workers refuse to get involved. Then tragedy strikes; Matthieu's father is killed in a road accident. Convinced that his father was driven to suicide, Matthieu resolves to have his revenge. His plan is to lure his boss's wife, Claire, into an affair and so make his boss a laughing stock. Seducing Claire proves easier than he could have imagined, but then the scheme goes awry. Matthieu and Claire fall in love. Written by Aline

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

factory | suicide | revenge | normandy | sex | See more »

Taglines:

Pour venger son père, il n'a plus qu'une seule arme: la séduire. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

|

Release Date:

10 January 2001 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Die Frau des Chefs  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Connections

Features White Heat (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

A Clever Film About Ordinary People
22 November 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is the second film directed by Xavier Beauvois that I have seen and in both he has excelled in telling the story of ordinary people in normal circumstances and telling it well.

The plot of Selon Matthieu is woven around a revenge tale: a young man's father dies in tragic and perhaps suicidal circumstances. The young man (Matthieu) blames his father's former employer who sacked his father shortly before the father's death. To exact revenge the young man plans to seduce the employer's wife because 'if you f/ck the boss's wife, you f/ck the boss'. His seduction works, but with emotional consequences he did not predict and prepare for.

In the telling of the tale the audience are introduced to Matthieu and his family, ordinary working class folk living in Le Havre, which is shot as moody and stormy, as well as the boss's wife, Claire, and her life. Amidst this Matthieu's grief and class differences are explored in subtle, symbolic ways that are very clever. For example as Matthieu's plan of revenge is taking shape he finds his brother watching Cagney in 'White Heat' on TV. The excerpt shown is Cagney telling others about infiltrating something: getting in is the hardest part and using a Trojan Horse. Matthieu devises his 'Trojan Horse' to penetrate the upper class that is Claire's world.

The symbolism and themes are also used to convey Matthieu's interior world: he is an accurate shot, making him a formidable and unrelenting enemy. He shoots up a car and a rat in anger and grief. He chooses to sing Karaoke to a Charles Azanavour song of a relationship steeped in fate to an audience that includes Claire. His love of his Norman history and the rocky beaches and cliffs around Le Havre showing his depth and wildness of feeling.

Claire's world by contrast is shown through gambling, migraines, intellectual conversation and nouvelle cuisine. The latter is a great scene: she and Matthieu are having dinner in a sophisticated and expensive restaurant. Claire has brought with her a book from which they are asking questions of one another. When the wine arrives Matthieu declines to taste it, passing that task to Claire aware that he will not know how it is supposed to taste. When their food arrives it is contemporary nouvelle cuisine and Matthieu remarks that the plate is empty. To which Claire quips 'the rich aren't hungry'. Such a brilliant line that really highlights Matthieu's 'hunger' that makes him a good hunter and Claire easy prey.

Although Matthieu's revenge succeeds it does so at a high cost to him and his family. The film concludes with a somewhat bleak and fatalistic view of class warfare: the upper class being the ultimate winners possessing as they do power and money. However in the final scene between Matthieu and his brother there is hope that his and his family's lives will return to the rich normality they previously enjoyed that contrasts strongly to the somewhat empty world of Claire.

A story that could be dull in its predictability is well crafted and superbly acted. The entire cast is terrific and Benoit Magimel as Matthieu and Nathalie Baye as Claire give fine and convincing performances as the leads. Beauvois pays a lot of attention to detail with camera shots that linger and are particularly loving of Le Havre in a moody tale of love and grief.


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