Claire, a 50-year-old divorced teacher, creates a fake Facebook profile of a 24-year-old woman. She finds a photo of a pretty young blonde and uses it. She has created an entirely fictional character, but why?
Claire, a 50-year-old divorced teacher, creates a fake Facebook profile of a 24-year-old woman. She finds a photo of a pretty young brunette online and uses it. She has created an entirely fictional character, but why? Originally she did it to spy on Ludo, her on-and-off lover. But Ludo only accepts friend requests from people he knows personally. To get to Jo, Claire sends his best-friend Alex a friend request and he accepts. The pair begins to exchange messages and their fake friendship turns into a fake love affair. Claire is in love with Alex and he is in love with her fake profile. Now he wants to meet the 24-year-old beauty he's been chatting with. She invents a busy job, professional trips and even a jealous ex. The more and more in love they are the more the situation becomes unbearable. Claire is torn between the impossibility of this love and the pain of having to admit her deception and risk losing it.
I am always keen to watch a Juliette Binoche film. She is a proper film star who possesses a glowing screen presence. A lesser actress (can we still say that?) would have struggled with the lead role in this film because it is virtually (sic) a one-woman-show. Juliette succeeds with ease.
This is a quiet little intimate film about a woman (Clare) in her 50's playing out a mid-life-crisis fantasy over the internet. Her long-term husband left her for a younger version, so she reacted by taking a young lover of her own who soon becomes bored with this much older woman. So, she suddenly decides to create a virtual younger version of herself and chooses the flatmate of the former younger lover to hit on. He has never met her but knows of her, and is conned into believing she is only 24. The cat-and-mouse game is played out just long enough to maintain our interest and we are given interspersed commentary by her as she explains it to her therapist. The scenario plays out in dramatic fashion, but then we become aware that she may not be telling the therapist the full story, and other possible endings emerge.
This has the effect of distancing the viewer at a crucial stage, which baffled me at first, but, after the film ended, I believe I understood what the writer was getting at. I am a man in his 50's surfing the web for love, diversion and perhaps even re-definition. My contemporaries and I did not have the internet when we were becoming adults, so for us it is a magic landscape. Previously we were defined by our setting, family, friends, and cultural norms. Now we can be shape-shifting dramatic characters who don't have to make do with the tales others write: Instead we can create and star in our own life. A movie star from a script of our own choosing and editing.
Binoche does not visibly glow in this role as much as she often does. Instead she ages defiantly. Her character doesn't actually go on an emotional journey, more a foolish escapade from which she ultimately concludes that having control of one's identity brings with it great responsibility.
I liked this movie. Clare is supposed to be an intelligent lecturer, but finds herself behaving like a giddy teenager playing silly but potentially deadly games with the emotions of others. This could have been quite unbelievable, but the simple production and Binoche's skill allow us to take the idea on board.
There are many high crane shots in the film which reminded me of sequences in my own dreams in which I seem to hover above the action. Seeing as the very first shot of this film is of someone nudging Clare out of a nap, then this impression that I had was possibly no accident.
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