41 user 83 critic

Clean (2004)

2:16 | Trailer
After she ends up in prison and loses custody of her son, a woman struggles to assimilate outside her former life and remain clean long enough to regain custody of her son.


Olivier Assayas


Olivier Assayas
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Maggie Cheung ... Emily Wang
Nick Nolte ... Albrecht Hauser
Béatrice Dalle ... Elena
Jeanne Balibar ... Irene Paolini
Don McKellar ... Vernon
Martha Henry Martha Henry ... Rosemary Hauser
James Johnston James Johnston ... Lee Hauser
James Dennis James Dennis ... Jay
Rémi Martin Rémi Martin ... Jean-Pierre
Laetitia Spigarelli Laetitia Spigarelli ... Sandrine
Arnaud Churin Arnaud Churin ... Store Manager
Man Kit Cheung Man Kit Cheung ... Restaurant Owner
Kurtys Kidd Kurtys Kidd ... Detective
Shaun Austin-Olsen Shaun Austin-Olsen ... Record Label Owner
Jodi Crawford Jodi Crawford ... Gloria


London-based Emily Wang gained minor notoriety from her VJ-ing on cable television. She is now more renowned for being the longtime girlfriend and pseudo manager of rock musician Lee Hauser, who seems to be on the brink of stardom. Those that know the couple believe she is a bad influence on him, and is the reason why he is a junkie. After Lee dies from an accidental heroin overdose and Emily is imprisoned for six months on possession charges, she learns that the courts have awarded custody of their young adolescent son, Jay, to Lee's aging parents, Albrecht and Rosemary Hauser, who live in Vancouver. A concerned Albrecht asks that she not attempt to see Jay for at least two years while she cleans up her act so as to give Jay a fighting chance at a decent life. Emily initially agrees, knowing that she is in no position to look after Jay. To regain her life, she decides to move back to her old stomping grounds of Paris. As Emily tries mostly unsuccessfully to become clean while eking ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

motel | jail | singer | money | junkie | See All (163) »


When you don't have a choice, you change.


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content, language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Lead actress Maggie Cheung and director Olivier Assayas were already divorced when they made this movie. See more »


References Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001) See more »


Third Uncle
Written by Brian Eno and Arr. Turrington
Performed by Brian Eno
P 1974 EG Records
See more »

User Reviews

Masterful Performance from Maggie Cheung
9 May 2006 | by leekandhamSee all my reviews

So what does it take to win at the Cannes Film Festival? Well, Maggie Cheung pulled out all the stops for her win in 2004 in a moving film directed by her ex-husband Olivier Assayas.

Emily Wang (Maggie Cheung), a junkie ex-VJ, struggles in life after her husband, a famed yet ageing rocker whose career is in decline, dies after a heroin overdose on the drugs she had bought him. After serving six months in jail for possession, she finds her son, Jay (James Dennis) is put into the care of her parents in law, Albrecht (Nick Nolte) and Rosemary (Martha Henry). Knowing that the only way to see her son again is to clean herself up, Emily moves to Paris to rebuild her life, seeking help from long forgotten contacts. Meanwhile Albrecht begins to have a change in heart when he realises that Rosemary is dying.

Maggie Cheung's performance isn't easy to match with superlatives. Mastering dialogue in Cantonese, English and French, as well as singing the title track - she, unlike many HK actors, hasn't launched a singing career - it feels as much an honest, raw portrayal of Emily's character and her struggles to deal with the twists presented to her. Whilst Cheung and Assayas may have split amicably years before, I can't help but feel that their own history must have played a part in the making of this film, and if so, they used it well for the benefit of the film. Which is just as well, as I felt the overall script wasn't as impactful as it could be, particularly given Cheung's performance.

Nick Nolte's role is fairly limited. It's strange seeing him now as a grandfather, but he does it well - will we see a change in direction from him? This is a good film, and we will look back on it one day in an awards ceremony and say this is the one movie that exemplifies all of Maggie Cheung's achievements in one film.

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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]


France | Canada | UK


French | English | Cantonese

Release Date:

1 September 2004 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Clean See more »


Box Office


GBP4,500 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,953, 30 April 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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