When Alice sees her childhood love, Bruno, again, she gives in to her desires. Then Bruno suddenly disappears. In reality, François, Alice's husband, has discovered their liaison. To take ...
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When Alice sees her childhood love, Bruno, again, she gives in to her desires. Then Bruno suddenly disappears. In reality, François, Alice's husband, has discovered their liaison. To take revenge, he develops a Machiavellian plan aimed at making his wife appear to be mad. Stage one: kidnapping Bruno... Written by
'En apparence' was made for television and I was recently fortunate enough to be able to watch it on TV5 Monde, with the presence of English subtitles being a welcome bonus. I had never heard of the movie but was faintly familiar with Barbara Schulz as an actress and, based upon her involvement, decided that it was worth giving this one a twirl. Happily, this turned out to be an instance where my expectations were greatly exceeded. 'En apparence' rises above the limitations of television production and proved to be a suspenseful and stylish effort.
Barbara Schulz stars as Alice, a young married woman. She is elegant and successful, yet just vulnerable enough to create a sympathetic and interesting character. She runs an antiques shop with her friend Melanie, and her existence appears tranquil and satisfying. Her ordered life is, however, thrown into emotional chaos when a lover from her past arrives back in the area after a long absence. Bruno, played by Gregory Fitoussi, is handsome and in possession of a blossoming writing career.
Having cheated on her husband once before, Alice is aware of what she is doing when she heeds her impulses and spends time with Bruno. Before the movie shifts tack somewhat and focuses on the suspense elements, this first part of the movie depicts a delicate and heartwarming reawakening of the romantic feelings that still lie in the hearts of former lovers. An effective and credible back-story is created thanks to the admirable chemistry between Schulz and Fitoussi.
When Alice's husband Francois learns of her infidelity, the mood of romance is seamlessly replaced with an over-riding air of uncertainty that is fraught with the possibilities of revenge. As Francois, Samuel Le Bihan uses his charisma to create an unsettling and psychotically vengeful husband. It is a great credit to Le Bihan that he doesn't go overboard when portraying such a disturbing character. He abducts Bruno and manipulates his wife and her surroundings to punish her and undermine her sanity. The extent of his actions is made all the more chilling by his facade of a loving husband. As I watched this facade gradually slip and the realisation of what he really is hit his wife, the performances of Le Bihan and Schulz utterly gripped me.
On reflection, 'En apparence' is perhaps a little formulaic. It succeeds, however, in overcoming such limitations by dint of the commendable acting. As well as the three leads, I should also pay credit to Nadia Fossier who does a fine job portraying Alice's helpful and supportive friend Melanie. Her piercing blue eyes and pale beauty added considerably to the movie.
There is an attractive and stylish touch to the production that makes it one of the finest in the genre that I have seen. For aficionados of the suspense genre and relatively recent movies such as 'Sleeping With the Enemy' and 'Single White Female', 'En apparence' comes highly recommended. I think it is a considerably more accomplished and rewarding movie than the titles I have mentioned above.
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