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Anne (Juliette Binoche), a well-off, Paris-based mother of two and investigative journalist for ELLE, is writing an article about student prostitution. Her meetings with two fiercely independent young women, Alicja (Joanna Kulig) and Charlotte (Anais Demoustier), are profound and unsettling, moving her to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex. Written by
The star of this movie is Juliette Binoche, who plays a reporter for Elle Magazine writing a story about two students earning a living as call girls. She leads the life of a typical bourgeois woman, with a husband and two sons, a big Parisian apartment, design kitchen and expensive clothes. She has everything she wants. But at the same time, her life is shallow and limited. The conversations with the two girls make her realize that there is more to life than she thinks, and she starts to doubt her own values and certainties.
The students confront her with the relativity of the things she takes for granted. 'Do you have a bathroom with a view?', asks the girl who hates the poor quality of life in her working class neighbourhood. 'I guess so, I've never thought about it', answers Binoche's character. And as she says it, she realizes how lucky she is to have a life many can only dream of.
At first, she is shocked by the girls' relaxed attitude towards prostitution. Later on, she realizes that in reality these girls are everything she herself isn't: independent, adventurous, open minded, rebellious, ambitious. Binoche is perfect in the way she expresses the doubts and confusion of her character. 'Elles' is a showcase for Binoche's acting talent.
Polish director Szumowska does a nice job by switching from the girls' sexual encounters with their clients to Binoche's daily routine of making breakfast, cooking dinner and washing clothes. The contrasts between the scenes accentuate the difference in lifestyle of the characters.
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