6.7/10
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La demoiselle d'honneur (2004)

Not Rated | | Thriller, Drama, Romance | 17 November 2004 (France)
A hard-working young man meets and falls in love with his sister's bridesmaid. He soon finds out how disturbed she really is.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Philippe Tardieu
...
Stéphanie "Senta" Bellange
...
Christine
Bernard Le Coq ...
Gérard Courtois
Solène Bouton ...
Sophie Tardieu
Anna Mihalcea ...
Patricia Tardieu
Michel Duchaussoy ...
Le clochard
...
Madame Crespin
Éric Seigne ...
Jacky
Pierre-François Dumeniaud ...
Nadeau
...
Capitaine Dutreix
...
Lieutenant José Laval
...
Rita (as Isild Barth)
Mazen Kiwan ...
Pablo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Chantal Banlier ...
La caissière épicerie
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Storyline

A middle class family in Loire, where things seem just a tad off kilter. Philippe dotes on his mother, who has raised his two sisters and him. Gérard, a wealthy man just divorced, is paying attention to her, then drops her. Philippe is actually pleased, and retrieves from Gérard's garden a stone head - of the goddess Flora - that his mother had given Gérard. At the wedding of one of his sisters, Philippe meets Senta, a quirky and moody young woman: they fall quickly in love, despite her odd behaviors and Philippe's general good sense. Senta announces a plan for them to prove their love to each other; it involves poetry, tree planting, and murder. What will Philippe do? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

17 November 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

La dama de honor  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,108,516 (France) (19 November 2004)

Gross:

$111,143 (USA) (21 January 2007)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Trivia

French Visa d'exploitation number 107930 See more »

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User Reviews

 
no wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, no flowers, no wedding dress...
3 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

About ten years before he decided to venture again in Ruth Rendell universe, Claude Chabrol had transferred to the screen "a Judgment in Stone" entitled "la Cérémonie" (1995). It was his last great masterwork although he somewhat betrayed the novel. The choice of Sandrine Bonnaire for the main role was ill-advised. Afterwards, his career followed a creative downswing with rather mediocre works such as "au Coeur Du Mensonge" (1999) or "Merci pour Le Chocolat" (2000). So, could a new excursion in Ruth Rendell territory boost his career again?

Alas no and the title of my summary should give you an inkling about my thoughts on the Chabrol 2004 vintage. However, there were some good elements to make the film compelling and to grab the attention. The first sequence showcases Benoît Magimel and his family in front of the TV news that reveals a murder. Perfect to weave an eerie climate. The big, imposing, eerie house in which Laura Smet lives seems to shelter dark secrets and the "bridesmaid" lives in the basement. Chabrol was also interested in the games of truth and lie that link his two main actors and real suspense lies in Magimel's personality dangerously attracted to the bridesmaid. The filmmaker's touch is also discernible at the wedding ceremony where he ridicules its crucial steps. See the church sequence and the feast which echoes to the one in "Le Boucher" (1970). While I'm evoking this meal, the gastronomy dear to Chabrol has three sequences devoted to it in the whole film. But let's come back to the bulk of the plot. Like "a Judgement in Stone", "La Demoiselle d'Honneur" was an exciting novel to read and again Chabrol skipped over some important points, notably the reasons which prompt the hero to steal the bust from Gérard Courtois (Bernard Le Coq). In the novel, he stole it because he thought that Courtois was a vulgar man, but here Magimel's motivations to steal the bust remain blurred.

The thrust of the novel and so of the film is a man who gradually loses the control of his everyday life facing a sensual, attractive disturbing young woman. However, things aren't looking good because there's an absence of unnerving climate and the scenario seems to have been sedately written, especially near the end. In another extent, I know what I'm going to write is questionable but I do think that Chabrol contemporary films suffer from the choice of the actors (see bland Jacques Dutronc in "Merci pour Le Chocolat" or Jacques Gamblin in "au Coeur Du Mensonge") and sadly "la Demoisele d'Honneur" isn't an exception to the rule. Magimel's character isn't credible at all. He should get bogged down in madness as he's deeply in love with Smet but it isn't discernible on the screen. Laura Smet (Johnny Hallyday's daughter) has a monotonous acting while Bernard Le Coq's part is underwritten. Michel Duchaussoy who was brilliant in "Que la Bête Meure" (1969) is relegated to a minor tramp role unworthy of his wide acting skills.

So, an absence of interest for this story of manipulation is surely due to its actors and also because like for "la Cérémonie", Chabrol made dull Rendell's novel. Mr Chabrol, let's put it this way: the best of your work is far behind you in time (roughly the dusk of the sixties and the dawn of the seventies) and you will probably never reach this scale again. How about contemplating retirement?


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