6.3/10
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234 user 151 critic

Femme Fatale (2002)

A woman tries to straighten out her life, even as her past as a con-woman comes back to haunt her.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Laure / Lily (as Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)
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...
...
Black Tie
Edouard Montoute ...
...
Thierry Frémont ...
Serra (as Thierry Fremont)
...
Fiona Curzon ...
Daniel Milgram ...
Pierre / Bartender
Jean-Marc Minéo ...
Seated Guard (as Jean-Marc Mineo)
Jean Chatel ...
Cannes Commentator
Stéphane Petit ...
Bodyguard One (as Stephane Petit)
Olivier Follet ...
Bodyguard Two
Éva Darlan ...
Irma (as Eva Darlan)
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Storyline

The thief Laurie Ash steals the expensive diamond jewel called 'Eye of the Serpent' in an audacious heist during an exhibition in Cannes 2001 Festival. She double-crosses her partners and is mistakenly taken as Lily, a woman who lost her husband and son in an accident and is missing since then, by an ordinary family. One day, while having bath in Lily's bathtub, Lily comes back home and commits suicide. Laurie assumes definitely Lily's identity, goes to America where she marries a rich man, who becomes the Ambassador of USA in France. When Laurie returns to France, her past haunts her. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing is more desirable or more deadly than a woman with a secret


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

6 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mujer fatal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$664,844 (France) (10 May 2002)

Gross:

$6,592,103 (USA) (6 December 2002)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jennifer Lopez was considered for the role of Laure Ash / Lily Watts. See more »

Goofs

In the pan from Bardo's balcony to the Cafe table we see the "Deja Vu" poster being rolled up before the "Gala" poster is installed. When it cuts back to the poster kiosk, the "Deja Vu" poster is crumpled, as if it was never rolled at all. See more »

Quotes

Laure Ash: I'm your fucking fairy god-mother. I just dreamt your future. And mine too.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Life of Brian (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

My Ideal
(1930)
Music by Newell Chase and Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Played during the Double Indemnity (1944) clip
Published by Famous Music Corp. (ASCAP)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Wake up, America!
27 January 2011 | by (theumpteenthtimes.com) – See all my reviews

Much like its director, Brian Depalma, Femme Fatale, a creatively slick crime drama that deconstructs the Hollywood archetype of the same name, has been completely ignored in this country since its release in 2002. Regardless, it is still a cinematically inventive masterpiece that utilizes every possible convention of the genre and then turns it upside down, in a way that only Brian Depalma can. Ever since his horror masterpiece, Sisters, released in 1973, Depalma has been exploring Hollywood genres, picking them apart, finding out what is so fascinating about them, then exploiting those fascinating elements beyond necessity, in both a celebratory way, as well as a satirical one. His films become essays on whatever genre he is navigating us through and perhaps this is why he is often misunderstood in America. The overindulgence of sex and violence in his movies is more of a reflection of the excessive sex and violence in movies in general. People react positively to these type of images so Depalma gives it to them in spades, taking the genre to the umpteenth degree. Ultimately though, one has to realize there is much humor in his presentation and quite often these scenes are satirical jabs more than anything else. Depalma both loves and laughs at Hollywood movies.

Femme Fatale begins with a jewel heist that takes place in the midst of the Cannes Festival. And in true Depalma fashion, it includes long tracking shots (taking us up and down staircases, down long hallways and through ventilation shafts), a Bolero-esque classical piece that helps to build the suspense slowly (forcing viewers to shatter their expectations for fast cuts and fast action), and a sex scene hotter than any Depalma has shot previously (which says a lot, considering he also directed Body Double and Dressed to Kill). After the heist is foiled and the heroine, Laurie (Rebecca Romijn), narrowly escapes her former partners in crime, who are now out to kill her, Laurie finds herself mistaken for another woman. Laurie takes advantage of this turn of events and steals the woman's passport, as well as her ticket to America. Fast forward seven years later and Laurie is now married to the American ambassador to France and is forced to return to a country where assassins are still after her. She remains incognito, so it takes some effort for the photographer, Nicolas (Antonio Banderas), to capture a picture of her for the tabloids. Ultimately he does and her picture is plastered on billboards all over France, putting Laurie's life in grave danger.

Similar themes that exist in earlier Depalma films find their way into Femme Fatale, particularly the theme of "the double," in which there is either a case of mistaken identity, twin siblings with opposite personalities, or a character suffering from multiple personality order, as was the case in Body Double, Sisters, and Dressed to Kill, respectively. The theme of surveillance and its intrusion into our personal lives has also found its way into Femme Fatale, much like in Blow Out, Depalma's Americanized version of Antonioni's Blow Up, in which a soundman records a car accident that proves to be no accident. These themes mentioned play a crucial role in Femme Fatale, but ultimately, it is the theme of the Hollywood archetype, the "femme fatale," and the expectations put on that character that dominates this film. And ultimately those expectations are shattered and a new understanding of the archetype comes into existence. This understanding could only be possible with a master writer/director manning the helm and Brian Depalma is just that, a master. Wake up, America!


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