Chloe in the Afternoon (1972) Poster

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Marital Infidelity and Frederic
nycritic2 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Eric Rohmer directed the last of his "Six Moral Tales" in 1972 with a simplicity that would put off viewers today.

People expecting a swelling score, dramatic moments, flashy, tricky editing, glamorous stars, and a satisfying conclusion will probably be best to look elsewhere as this, the plainest (yet not without its subtexts) of his films, depicts a flirtation with the opposite sex in a Walter Mitty fashion at its beginning which out of the blue becomes real in the form of Chloe (Zouzou) as she pays a visit to Frederic (Bernard Verley) at his office one afternoon. Both reconnect in conversations, but while she seems slightly aggressive -- the ultimate fantasy of any male -- and worldly, he seems to dance tentatively around her, as if coming too close might not be a wise idea. Frederic's pregnant wife Helene (Francoise Verley) is kept aside in an apparent blissful ignorance that anything may be going on between he and Chloe even when they all converge one evening in a Macy's-like department store. It makes you wonder if Eric Rohmer is trying to tell you if he's giving the green light on this possibility, that Frederic will indeed, later on, give in to Chloe's aggressive, almost masculine advances. (An interesting contrast is presented with having Helene look frail, waif-ish, ultra-feminine, while Chloe is clearly the opposite: a little world-weary, tomboy-ish at times, plain yet intriguing, with an aura of the equivalent of today's Angelina Jolie within.) It is this flirting with what is clearly on the outside of his structured life the reason that makes Frederic accept her advances, and even feel slightly piqued when soon after taking a part-time job as a waitress in a restaurant she suddenly disappears for about two weeks without notice. When she does return, though, she seems determined to have Frederic's child -- at least, this is what she states, even though Helene has borne him two, one during the course of the story -- but of course, since she's an independent woman who can love from afar and not feel the constraints of marriage, she would never impose anything on Frederic.

Is she real, or is she also dancing in her own oblique yet frank dance? One can never be too sure: she states not wanting any emotional attachments on one end yet clearly reacts to Frederic's repeated telling her he is married.

And then there's the question in regards to Helene, whom we only see sparingly throughout the film: through Chloe's words, how much does she hide from Frederic? How well do we know even our closest ones? Might Helene also have someone, her own secrets? Chloe states she's recently seen her walking with a man on the streets of Paris, but since we never do, we can only speculate. Yet this becomes important only minutes later, as when Frederic, who is coming extremely close to making love to Chloe (who for the moment seems to have gotten her life in order as a shopgirl), decides to leave her naked on her bed after visiting her while she was showering and run back to his office and into the waiting Helene who needs to see him at once. Why, it is never explained. Rohmer decides to leave it open to discussion as the credits pop up, and apparently, a 'happy ending' has been reached through Helene's emotional outburst, and their embrace an decision to make love at the very end.
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Another good Rohmer about the intricacies of love
joaodelauraaurora15 January 2002
No other director has exposed, analyzed and interpreted love relations as profoundly and as maturely as Eric Rohmer. His cycles `Six Moral Tales' and `Comedies and Proverbs', based on his own screenplays, are the best examples of how cinema can be at the same time `talkative', philosophic and incredibly effective. Rohmer's movies prove that cinema can fully explore love without being melodramatic, naive or predictable. `Chloe in the Afternoon' (`L'amour l'après midi') is the sixth and the last of his moral tales and tells the story of Frédéric, a married lawyer who loves his wife but feels tempted to have an affair with seductive Chloe, a friend of old times who reenters his now bourgeois life. As in the case of many of his other films, Rohmer's screenplay is in itself worth-reading, with intelligent dialogues and interesting ups and downs in the love triangle, but his directing of the three actors, emphasizing their ambiguities (Frédéric's principles and impulses; Hélène's apparent self-assurance and hidden anguish; Chloe's solitude and tricks), is also very impressive. `Chloe in the Afternoon' is a good reflection on the dilemmas of monogamy and the traps of possessiveness. One more to the admirable list of Rohmer's movies about love (8/10).
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Sharp and insightful dialogue
howard.schumann28 October 2002
Chloe in the Afternoon is the last of six moral tales of Eric Rohmer and my favorite of the three. Frederic (Bernard Varley), is a happily married, well-to-do lawyer married to Helene (Francoise Verley), a somewhat chilly English professor. He is attracted to other women and misses the time when he was free. "I feel marriage closes me in", he says, "cloisters me, and I want to escape. The prospect of happiness opening indefinitely before me sobers me. I find myself missing that time, not too long ago, when I could experience the pangs of anticipation". Frederic rationalizes that his fantasies about other women are merely a reflection of the depth of his love for his wife. In one amusing sequence, he dreams that he possesses an amulet that gives him control over the will of any passer-by, a power of which he takes decided advantage of.

When Chloe (Zouzou), a free-spirited friend he used to know shows up, Frederic finds a release in her companionship and is able to confide in her in a way that he is unable to do with his wife. They spend afternoons together talking about love and relationships. She confesses that she doesn't want to be married but would like to have a child, particularly one with Frederic. The central tension of the film is the choice Frederic must make between his passion for Chloe and his love for his wife. Although he is tempted to have an affair with Chloe, he spends too much time pondering the pros and cons and doesn't act. Chloe on the other hand is in love with Frederic and has a come-what-may attitude toward his entanglements.

Like Jerome (Claire's Knee) and Jean-Louis (My Night at Maud's), Frederic is weak and indecisive and is forever attempting to justify his inability to choose. He stands on the edge of temptation but is never quite ready to jump. Rohmer does not, however, make any moral judgments but hints that Frederic's temptation and pangs of conscience are something most of us go through at some time in our lives.

Though there is a lot of talking in Chloe in the Afternoon, it never seems false or tiresome. This is a very charming film that Pauline Kael called "in every respects, a perfect film". It has a natural rhythm with characters that are so real that you don't want to leave them when the film ends. As Frederic's ultimate choice looms, we are privy to some sharp and insightful dialogue that illuminates the complexity of relationships. The story is told from the husband's point of view and we are left wondering how different it would be if told by his wife. Her tears at the end provide a clue.
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Nice story
barberoux31 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"L'Amour l'après-midi" was a nice story. I liked it for its portrayal of early 1970's Paris. I also enjoyed the sentiments portrayed. Compared to the moral climate in recent movies this one was refreshing. SPOILER possible ahead. The movie built up to the final seduction scene by Chloe slowly, hinting at it through most of the movie. After years of Hollywood crap I expected Frédéric to jump into bed with her as soon as he could but the movie was more of an examination of him not doing so. His final decision was very tough since there was a nude women awaiting him in the next room. It is much easier to make a decision concerning fidelity when you don't put yourself in that position, i.e alone with a nude women in her apartment. "L'Amour l'après-midi" was an uplifting story and well worth seeing.
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How one man connects with female beauty
rcantabile31 May 2002
Whether Frederic is on the train, at home with his wife, or trying to figure out how he'll handle the ravishing Chloe from his past life, he seems to truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds him and he wrestles with how to respond.

I was particularly taken with the scene on the train when Frederic begins to explain how he is able to remain under control in the presence of so many beautiful women in the world. Simply acknowledging such beautiful creatures seems to be enough for this man, yet when Chloe arrives on the scene we begin to wonder if Frederic will fold under pressure.

I can surely identify with what Frederic feels on the train. It happens to all of us -- we are faced with beauty, and we must respond. How we respond is what makes life worth living.
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I am becoming a fan of Rohmer
cinephil-630 March 1999
After watching "Claire's knee" which I personally adore, I was very impatient to discover another Eric Rohmer film. "Chloe in the afternoon" didn't disappoint me. As a matter of fact, I was captivated by the way E.R. puts his characters in interaction. It's unique to see how the scenes are put together and how E.R. makes you live the characters. I was really touched by this "moral tale".
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Moral 101
LeRoyMarko9 December 2002
Great film by Rohmer. Another one that puts moral dilemma to the "grand jour". Emotions, feelings, passion, love: those are the ingredients so dearly associated to Rohmer. He explores human fallibility by telling us the story of Frédéric (Bernard Verley). He's married to Hélène (Françoise Verley), but along the way comes Chloé (Zouzou). Will he let go to temptation?

Like other movies from Rohmer, "L'Amour l'après-midi" is presented like a book. It's a great combination of cinematic and literary experience.

Out of 100, I give it 84. That's good for *** out of ****.

Seen at home, in Toronto, on November 18th, 2002.
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Insightful masterpiece
timmy_5015 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
1974's Love in the Afternoon is stylistically typical of the films of Eric Rohmer but it still manages to be quite unique in his canon. First of all, it may be the most visually ordinary of all his films. His previous film, Claire's Knee, was beautifully shot; the lakeside locations in that film looked amazing. Thus it is all the more surprising to see that this film is almost entirely set indoors or in unremarkable city streets. Next, this is one of the few Rohmer films to feature a married protagonist. While there may not technically be much difference between the long term relationships that previous Rohmer protagonists (such as the man from the previous film) are involved in and marriage, Frederic takes the sanctity of marriage seriously.

As characters go, Frederic is something of a nonentity. This is clearly illustrated in an early scene in which a salesgirl convinces him to buy a shirt when he wasn't even shopping for one. In fact, he specifically tells her that he won't be buying the shirt before trying it on. He even finds it uncomfortable but her insistence is too much for him and he caves in.

Frederic's lack of willpower is once again clear in his interactions with Chloe, a woman he knew (and disliked) before his marriage. She enters his life and tells him that they have always been friends and they will be again. He tells her she is wrong; he barely tolerated her before and he has no interest in seeing her now. He then immediately does everything he can to spend time with her, essentially proving her right and making a liar of himself. Still, in spite of her obvious interest in being more than friends, he somehow has enough willpower to avoid violating his vows.

For most of the film, Frederic seems to have some strength of character as exhibited in his adherence to the rules of marriage. A late scene calls this into question. As a means of seducing him, Chloe tells him that people in polygamous societies are happy to have many lovers. After some consideration, he admits that he would be just as happy to follow that convention if it was the norm in his society. This to me is the crux of the film and the key to understanding Frederic. His malleability and his unwillingness to cheat seemed mysteriously contradictory but this exchange shows that it's actually a very simple contradiction: Frederic can't decide whether to conform to what society expects of him or to what Chloe expects of him. This revelation is quite unique in my cinematic experience: I've never felt like I understood such a realistic character so well. That this singular insight is only possible with an apparently frivolous character in no way diminishes Rohmer's achievement here. At the crucial scene of the film, all pretence has been stripped away from Frederic and his vulnerabilities are impossible to miss. The viewer is left to wonder if there is really much difference between Frederic and himself; perhaps the essential frivolity of Frederic is the frivolity of humankind.
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dickback28 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Like all Rohmer's films I've seen, this one is "just" a story, told as by a storyteller, without any of the visual cinematic items that usually make of a film a "movie". The only "special effects", here, are visual, and consist of beautiful women...

So, it's the story that I will comment on.

For me, the story is the genesis of an avalanche, the explanation of how you can get from A to Z, where Z is so far away from A that you really need to pass through all the intermediate steps: an avalanche that gains, slowly, speed, as you move gently from A to B, C, D, and than, a little more unexpectedly, to E, F, G. down to all the furthest and most extreme letters of the alphabet.

No, not the Z, though.

It is extremely difficult to imagine how, or why, a happy man, with one child and another coming, and a beautiful wife, would want to make pregnant an old friend of his, who has no intention - or so she says - of having a lasting or meaningful relationship with him.

Here the intermediate letters of the alphabet consist of the reappearance of an old friend, of a mild crisis of a man who was accustomed and able to choose beautiful women and that now "only" has his wife, of a sort of boredom that appears in his empty (although business-filled) afternoons, and of course of the challenge that all this comports. Step by step, although improbable, he is taken almost down to the most extreme consequence, until he remembers of being a proud father, in the most beautifully (and perhaps only) cinematic act of the film, while he pulls out his jumper, and by doing so he remembers of a playful day at home. Yes, home, that sacred thing that he manages, finally, to save and preserve from that avalanche that ran over his afternoons.

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Intriguing story about love and monogamy
DeeNine-27 August 2001
Veteran French actor Bernard Verley stars as Frederic who is the kind of man who loves women with a great passion, but finds that he can direct all that love physically into one woman. Chloe is a woman, cynical about men, confident of her power of seduction, a woman who never wants to marry. They were friends and now they meet again. He is married, a successful businessman. She is single, living from day to day. What will happen? Will she entice him away from his wife? Will he find the French happiness with a wife and a mistress?

The title, while good, is misleading, as is the sexy cover on this video. (The French title, L'amour l'apres-midi, is better; but that title in English was taken by Love in the Afternoon (1957) starring Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn.) This is about as sexy as a Disney movie (although there is some backside nudity), yet it is an intriguing story about love, human sexuality and the question of monogamy. I can already see some of the other reviews: "Too talky." "Endless talk and no action." Ah, but they are wrong. This is a fascinating film in which the action is subtle and true and very interesting.

Francoise Verley plays Frederic's wife. She is not nearly as pretty as he thinks she is. Nor is she as removed from his life away from her as he naively believes. Eric Rohmer's subtle direction makes it clear that she knows more than she will ever tell him, that she loves him and perhaps prays that he still loves her. But she is above saying a single word. One gets the sense that she knows he is a man so attractive to other women that it is inevitable that he will stray. But does he? The final scene in which we know why she is crying--although ironically, he does not--is just beautifully done and ends the movie at exactly the right moment.

Zouzou plays Chloe who is Parisian, bohemian and quietly desperate. As usual with Rohmer there is a kind of realism in the movie that defies description. The people and the scenes and the events are real; there is no straining for effect, and everything is understated with a characteristic Rohmerian message about human nature.

This starts slow and never really speeds up, but do yourself a favor and stay with it. The denouement is beautifully turned and the revelation of the three principal characters is as clear and clean and agreeable as Chloe after her shower.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
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To the Uninitiated a Bit Unfulfilling; However.....
Hitchcoc17 February 2016
I have been all over the map with the Six Moral Tales. In this one, a very handsome man who seems fixated on all attractive women (at times he is such a self-centered snob) and who has a waif-like wife and child at home, finds he is being pursued by the lover of a former friend. They begin a relationship, meeting in afternoons while he is supposedly at work. His job allows him freedom to roam while his wife is mostly at home. What happens between them is a continuous conversation about his right to do what he is doing. She is a strong, almost masculine woman (still quite attractive and sexy) and she allows him to be introspective all along the way. This becomes more a discussion on morals and the state of the world when it comes to how men and women treat each other, than a story of romantic interlude. Of course, one who sees this in isolation and knows nothing of Eric Rohmer, would first find it a bit dull, and then probably say how unrealistic it is. But a point is made. I saw all six of these films many years ago and am now looking at them more closely.
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Compelling and Well Written
framptonhollis30 December 2015
"Chloe in the Afternoon" is the sixth and final work in Eric Rohmer's "Six Moral Tales" film series. While the film's story is quite simple (a married, bourgeois man encounters a woman named Chloe who he hasn't seen in years, and begins to have some sort of a love affair with her), the film's characters are not!

All of the "Six Moral Tales" provide the viewer with a cast of excellent and memorable characters. Even if these characters aren't always the most likable (just look at the film "La collectionneuse"), they are always very interesting to watch. I believe that the characters in "Chloe in the Afternoon" may be the greatest characters in the "Six Moral Tales" series. Especially the character of Chloe, a very smart and likable character who offers a lot of the film's greatest and most interesting dialogue (great dialogue is another feature that is all over this film series).

Another thing that I found highly impressive about the way her character was written was how she is given a clear back story, but, instead of her back story being forcefully told to the audience in detail all at once it is simply glanced over. It is perhaps the least forced back story given to a character in any other film that I've seen.

The film also turns out to be the most emotional of the "Six Moral Tales", with a truly compelling ending sequence. You can tell that director Eric Rohmer's films really began to mature since the earliest of the "Moral Tales", the 1962 short film "The Bakery Girl of Monceau".

While it isn't the best of the "Six Moral Tales", and it was kind of slow at times, it is a perfectly fitting ending to one of the greatest of all film series!
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CHLOE' IN THE AFTERNOON (Eric Rohmer, 1972) ***
Bunuel197624 January 2010
The most popular entries in the late Eric Rohmer's long and distinguished career are, undoubtedly, his "Six Moral Tales" which began in 1963 with the short THE BAKERY GIRL OF MONCEAU and ended with the film under review. For the record, I was genuinely impressed with the centerpiece of the sextet – MY NIGHT AT MAUD'S (1969), which is easily Rohmer's most popular film – and, many years ago, I had also watched the successive chapter LA COLLECTIONNEUSE (shot in 1967 but released in 1971!) but I have only vague recollections of that one and some of the later Rohmers that I have seen since then. But back to CHLOE' or, I should say, LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON which is the film's original title (although, obviously enough, it bears no relation whatsoever to Billy Wilder's 1957 tribute to his idol Ernst Lubitsch)! Speaking of idols, the lead actor here, Bernard Verley, portrayed (irony of ironies) Jesus Christ in one of the major works of my own personal cinematic idol, Luis Bunuel's THE MILKY WAY (1969) and, besides, the central situation of the movie is also dealt with in one of my favorite band's loveliest songs, The Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" (which, likewise, dates from 1969)!! In CHLOE', Verley plays a happily married man (unsurprisingly enough to his own real-life wife Francoise, no less – in her first of just two screen appearances) who spends his daily idle time (train journeys, lunch breaks, etc.) entertaining the notion of betraying his wife with every woman he meets! In fact, much has been made of the fact that CHLOE' includes the only dream sequence (featuring cameos by the likes of Marie-Christine Barrault, Francoise Fabian and Haydee' Politoff) in Rohmer's entire oeuvre but, frankly, I did not find the reverie all that extraordinary in itself; actually, the purposefully cheesy electronic score (redolent of the then-currently topical sci-fi pieces for the intelligentsia) over the opening credits seems to me to have been more of a successful 'departure' for Rohmer . Anyway, flanked by two particularly attractive secretaries, Verley is never too far away from the company of desirable women but always manages to resist temptation and uphold his marriage fidelity vows…that is until the long-lost titular character presents herself unheralded in his office one day and just keeps coming back! Portrayed by the tomboyish, bob-haired Zouzou (more on her fascinating life history later), Chloe' is the epitome of sheer kookiness: free-spirited and fun-loving but also passionate and volatile. A past acquaintance of Verley (she was once his best friend's girl), she had subsequently gone abroad and through several short-lived romances but, not having accomplished much of significance career-wise, comes back to her roots and, consequently, Verley. After breaking up with her current casual boyfriend (who also employs Chloe' as a nightclub hostess), she asks Verley to find her a respectable job and, gradually, they take to meeting up every afternoon during his lunch-break (without, of course, letting the wife in on these innocent escapades). Eventually, he aids Chloe' to settle into a new apartment but one day she drops the bomb: confessing to him that he has been her ideal all along and she wants to bear his son! Verley and Zouzou do get to shack up at her apartment one afternoon and a bathing Chloe' invites him to dry her with a towel...but this is as far as it goes because, by the time she has gotten into bed, Verley has sensibly rushed out of there and back into the rightful arms of his wife! To return to the real Zouzou for a minute: born Daniele Ciarlet, she came to prominence in 1961 on the Paris scene as a nightclub twist sensation and, eventually, started hobnobbing with an elite crowd that included Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones' Brian Jones (with whom she had a two-year affair), Marianne Faithful and Jack Nicholson! Rohmer's film, her looks and enviable connections should have rightfully turned her into an international superstar but, as with so many others before and since, she witnessed her career potential waste away via drug addiction and unwise decisions. Apart from Zouzou's utterly entrancing performance, the film's trump card is its flawlessly perceptive depiction of the marital state of mind and, more importantly on a personal level, that fine line that exists between friendship and love – where somebody's platonic feelings for, say, a colleague can transform themselves with time (and virtually imperceptibly) from affectionate camaraderie to genuine love. Perhaps I ought not to be admitting this here but, the erratic nature of my film-viewing habits for the last two months or so, can be directly attributed to just such an unforeseen event happening to me…although, lamentably I might add, I play the part of Chloe' in my own private everyday morality play!!
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Subtle, enjoyable
Insp. Clouzot1 November 2002
As all other Rohmer films Chloe is about feelings, emotions, dialogues, testing moral taboos.... Although I did not like all the acting - some minor characters are not very good and their acting looks artificial - the film keeps you intrigued till the end.

It is not a movie for the "masses" : there is no sex, no guns, no fights, no cops.

If this your idea of movies like it seems to be the norm in some countries west of Europe go instead to your local Blockbuster or Video Update and get the latest of Rambo, Lethal...,blah, blah, blah...

If instead you want to think then it is definitely worth seeing.
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Is it possible to love two women at once? Is it normal?
lastliberal19 May 2009
I have to admit that I was not really impressed with my first Rohmer experience: Les amours d'Astrée et de Céladon. Maybe I should view it again after seeing some more of his films. And, here I am watching the last film in a series (Rohmer's Six Moral Tales). I will watch the rest, but this supposed to be the best.

What we have here is an eternal question. Frédéric (Bernard Verley) loves his wife Hélène (Françoise Verley), but wonders if he would have made a different choice. So, he spends his time admiring women on the street and speculating. He even imagines he has a magical device that robs the women of their free will.

Chloé (Zouzou), an acquaintance from the past, shows up one day and she and Frédéric spend a lot of time together. It goes beyond flirting, but never to sex. She tells him she wants him to father her child. I am not sure whether she really wants a child, or if she just wants to see if she can get him in bed. He wants to maintain the friendship.

The ending was very emotional, and satisfying.
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Yes, but...
taylor98858 November 2002
TFO, a French-language network, has been showing the Contes moraux for the last few weeks, and the strengths and weaknesses of Rohmer's approach are easy to see. When he has fine, committed actors like Francoise Fabian and Jean-Louis Trintignant in Ma nuit chez Maud, he can create a flow and vibrancy in the story-telling that make us forget the didacticism of the script (who cares about Jansenism and Blaise Pascal, anyway?).

Where he fails is in not being able to create three-dimensional characters, or not being able to coax a good performance from an actor. The glaring example of this is Brialy in Le genou de Claire who, wearing a thick beard, seems to sleep-walk through his part: his erotic obsession with a girl's lissome kneecap never comes to life. In the film in question today, Bernard Verley has a bland, pudding-like face that hardly provokes any interest in the viewer. How can such a pallid bourgeois be appealing to a bohemian girl like her?

Francoise Verley as the wife has all the best moments; certainly the final scene is more interesting than what went before. She is not a beautiful woman, but her quiet strength and natural acting style are very convincing. Zouzou does not have the underlying restless energy and fierce sexuality you would expect in a girl who drifts from man to man, and her acting skills are minimal. All in all, a good film when concentrating on the family dynamics, but those scenes at the office between Verley and Zouzou are often tiresome.
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minor masterpiece
burly9 June 2001
The biggest flaw in most Rohmer films is their talkiness. If you doubt this, I suggest you start with "Autumn Tale," which opens with a half hour conversation in the middle of a field. It's one of the most excrutiatingly boring stretches of cinema I've ever seen.

Imagine then my surprise when I viewed this little gem. "Chloe in the Afternoon" is still a talk film and Rohmer isn't able to generate the visual excitement that some directors can, but don't let that deter you. The dialogue (and narration) get to the point, while Rohmer's relaxed approach to pacing and visual style are here a virtue. I didn't think him capable of a film this good.
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French Film
SnoopyStyle12 March 2018
Frédéric has a successful happy life. His wife Hélène is expecting their second baby. He starts to fantasize about the female species whether it's the beauty on the train, the salesgirl, his secretaries, his nanny, or any of the beautiful women he encounters. One day, Chloé returns into his life from his past. She's struggling and he helps her out. They spend afternoons together as flirtations grow.

This is a fine French film about a very french subject. I don't like the Chris Rock reimagining. It's too dark although the premise holds some interest. For some reason, it's not quite so dark in French. There is the great fantasy montage that is slightly funny. That scene really sold me on this movie. It sold me on the characters and the sense of their journey. Originally, it was renamed Chloe in the Afternoon during its initial American run.
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Shaw Thing
writers_reign4 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When Irwin Shaw wrote a short story called 'The Girls In Their Summer Dresses' and placed it with the New Yorker he probably had no idea it would become one of the most anthologized American short story of the 20th century and would possibly inspire Eric Rohmer to take it as the starting point of the last of his Six Moral Tales. There was a lot of Shaw himself - who was married when he wrote it - in the main character, a reasonably happily married man possessed of an uncontrollable urge to look at other women even when out with his wife. Rohmer has created a similar affliction in Frederic (Bernard Verley), equally happily married to Helene (Francoise Verley), who is already the mother of his first child and bears him another during the course of the film. Rohmer takes Shaw's premise towards, if not actually to, its logical conclusion, by having Frederic concentrate on just One girl, Chloe (Zouzou - this was the name of James Stewart and Donna Reed's daughter in Capra's 'It's A Wonderful Life' and French directors being as they are, enamored of Hollywood, it's not impossible that Rohmer cast the actress merely because of her name). When we meet her first Choloe is very much the bohemian sporting bulky sweaters and jeans but as the film progresses she graduates to the kind of chic clothes that epitomize French women, girls in summer dresses indeed. Nothing, of course, happens. In this kind of film nothing ever does. Chloe is frank in her intention to seduce Frederic and he comes that close to succumbing but that's all, folks. This is the kind of movie it's tough to promote, its target audience is the habitué of the small salle, semi art house which still, thankfully, flourishes in Paris but forget UCI type chains.
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An attempt of seductive interference
esteban174715 January 2004
This is not a film made in a traditional fashion; it shows that men may have some thoughts even at 50s. If you are working in areas where you have to treat public, certainly you will find ladies (or men, vice versa for women) whom you may like certainly, and attraction sometimes is fatal for certain families. Here there is no violence just the desire of a single woman to be with a married man and the way the latter reacts and finishes this relationship together with the attitude of his wife. She may seem passive, but is not, she suspected a lot until the man declares love again for her wife.
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an affecting character/faith drama
MisterWhiplash5 November 2003
Eric Rohmer's sixth tale of "morality" in 1972 was Chloe in the Afternoon. While I haven't seen the other five, this installment had me from start to finish. Rohmer's work here, as well as the work done by the actors like Bernard Verley as the central character Frederic, his wife Francoise Verley as Helene, and Zouzou as the title character, doesn't amount to a masterpiece. It's questionable if someone will finish watching this and think of it was one of the great films from the 70's. But having said that, this film builds with a real vision by Rohmer into what he wants to say. The audience can tell within some time after the film starts that this isn't going to be one of those by-the-numbers tales of infidelity. There really is a consistency to what he and his actors are doing in the story.

Frederic runs a Paris office and has Helen, his wife, with one child and another on the way. His narration conveys that there is a abscond he wants to seek, though he doesn't know how (most nights he falls asleep reading a book). Then enter Chloe, an old friend returning to France after years out of the country without a word. A friendship is re-kindled, however there could be something more to what it means as the film rolls along.

Perhaps there was something I was expecting from Chloe in the Afternoon that Rohmer wasn't delivering, which is my only beef with the picture. He has a definite knack for laying on the subtleties of his characters (that is more like half him and half the actors portraying the emotions) that are expected in day-to-day lives among old friends, co-workers, and spouses, and the good qualities of the film hold up till the end. Yet I kept on feeling there was something almost deceptive about how the film progressed. I praise Rohmer for making the story choices he made, and all the same an expectedess, though I wonder if it will become richer and deeper as I get older, as I bring more to the work and understand where Rohmer's coming from in his "Moral" tale. It's a great work that I'll have to watch again (and hopefully again), if only to see if I gave an under-estimated view of the development of Frederic, Helene, and Chloe. Certainly more than a mild blip on the post-french new-wave radar though.
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Swambi29 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, I couldn't stop yawning, nor could my partner. Incredibly boring - 90 minutes seemed to stretch to at least 3 hours - and I'm not even a fan of action films, but this just falls asleep on its feet - unless you are a 70's polo neck sweater fan!

** SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW ** If you were expecting ANYTHING to happen, don't hold your breath - it doesn't!

But seriously, it totally fails to convince or involve the watcher. It's like a long, boring and rather disjointed dream. Frederic floats through it, able to leave work whenever he wants, and with attractive secretaries bringing tea and messages constantly. Obviously not real life! And an office with virtually no paper or files - just a giant calendar to let you know that the film really is taking 6 months to watch.

Frederick never seems to be touched by any real emotion, neither does his wife, and the children behave like rag dolls - in stark contrast to any real life. Even Chloe, despite her strong views, never gives the appearance of really feeling anything. The only 3 seconds of any real feeling occur between a couple overseen in a cafe, and have nothing to do with the plot.

Okay, so maybe there are some moral considerations, but if it's entertainment, or even good cinematography you are looking for, I think this film is incredibly over-rated by most other viewers.
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Good Director, Good Actors, Boring Story
Alan-4023 August 2001
I haven't seen the other Rhomer films yet, but looking at this one leads me to believe they will be worth looking into. For a very small budget this film has a lot of warmth and charm. And the actors (none of whom I am familiar with) all carry their parts with an easy gracefulness of which Rhomer takes full advantage. I wish more American movies had these qualities.

But the story has been done to death. If you strip out all the high-minded introspection and pretentious, superficially self-depreciating philosophical outlook, all you end up with is another Frenchman having trouble keeping his pecker in his pocket. Now there's something that needs more going over.
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quincy-white8 November 2003
This is the kind of movie that brings out anti-Hollywood, anti-American feelings in a lot of people. Yes, Chloe in the Afternoon is an artful, beautiful, philosophical exploration of love and morality, all without giant explosions. It is also very, very boring.

I admit I only rented it because I fell for the tease on its cover. I knew it was a tease, but I had to satiate my curiosity. It was almost funny in its sheer dullness. The last 10 minutes were not so bad, because it was finally over and something actually happened. But that hardly makes up for the rest of it.

Just before I watched this, I saw the first of the 3 minute Star Wars Clone Wars cartoons. In 3 minutes, the short said more about humanity, morality, and love than the entire hour and a half of Chloe in the Afternoon.

I'll just come out and say it. Cabin Fever, a movie I absolutely hated, was at least not boring. I'll take bad Hollywood over quality art house any day.
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It's films like this that make me believe in "art-snobs."
Phil_H21 August 1999
Why this worthless piece of French cinema has garnered any sort of attention, other than negative, is beyond me.

Don't bother renting this one. It shouldn't have even come into this country.
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