Elles (2011)

NC-17  |   |  Drama  |  1 February 2012 (France)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 4,705 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 24 user | 101 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

On her latest assignment, a journalist for Elle immerses herself in a prostitution ring run by university students.


(as Malgoska Szumowska)


, (as Malgoska Szumowska)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Louis-Do de Lencquesaing ...
La mère d'Anne
Le client sadique
Ali Marhyar ...
Jean-Marie Binoche ...
Le père d'Anne
Pablo Beugnet ...
Valérie Dréville ...
La mère de Charlotte
Le père de Charlotte
Arthur Moncla ...
Scali Delpeyrat ...
Laurence Ragon ...


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 Tine Byrckel

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The world's oldest profession still has its secrets.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

1 February 2012 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Ellas  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


€4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$24,286 (USA) (27 April 2012)


$157,427 (USA) (7 September 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 - II. Allegretto
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

Disappointing but some redeeming features
2 March 2013 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

I was expecting Juliette Binoche to be as fabulous as she normally is, but she was the disappointment among the three female leads.

To be fair, I think it was the fault of the part, rather than faults in her performance. I think the idea was that her character, the journalist, got so involved in what she was researching and writing that she forgot about her own life and family until the story was finished; but the result was that her character was just a mess.

What I liked about the film was what seemed to be a much more honest and realistic portrayal of the two prostitutes than we normally see. Both were very believable. Both students, one (Anaïs Demoustier as Charlotte) in control of what she was doing, and the other (Joanna Kulig as Alicja) drinking to much and seemingly headed for disaster. Both of them liked sex; Charlotte liked the sex she had with her customers apparently just as much as she liked the sex she had with her boyfriend. You don't see that in Hollywood movies. In Hollywood movies the prostitutes never kiss and they never have orgasms, and they all hate what they're doing. In this film, Charlotte didn't hate it at all, in fact she liked it a lot; whereas Joanna said that she liked it, and seemed to like the physical sensations, but also seemed to hate the idea of what she was doing. That seemed pretty realistic to me.

There were two things that struck me particularly. One was quite early on in the film, when Juliette Binoche asked Charlotte why she kept working. The answer was that the money was hard to give up.

The second was from Charlotte again, and again in answer to a question from Juliette. The question was, what was the worst thing about the work, and the answer was having to tell lies all the time.

Both of those things rang pretty true to me.

So what it comes down to is a more realistic portrayal of prostitution than we normally get, but a rather messy movie with a rather messy central character.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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