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Drawing some intriguing parallels between the work of the prostitute and that of the psychiatrist-both have clients, both charge for sessions, both take on roles that serve the needs, psychological or otherwise, of those they serve, Jeanne Labrune's drama stars Isabelle Huppert and Bouli Lanners as, respectively, Alice, a disaffected call girl and Xavier, a shrink with a crumbling domestic situation. With sex more talked about than shown, the film is filled with pointed dialogue and double entendresWritten by
Palm Springs Internation Film Festival
Great performances and beautiful cinematography can't save this good, but ultimately underwhelming black comedy
Alice Bergerac (Isabelle Huppert) is a upper-class prostitute who 'specialises' in role playing for businessmen in order to pay for certain antique items she enjoys collecting. Xavier Demestre (Bouli Lanners) is an uptight, angry psychoanalyst whose marriage is falling apart. These two end up crossing paths, and changing each others lives for the better. What appears to be a very promising film about the relationship between psychoanalysis and prostitution ends up being very underwhelming and unsure of itself.
The similarities drawn between the two professions are not subtle, with the patient/client interactions and payment methods all much the same. The performances in these scenes, and generally across the board are fantastic. Huppert is particularly good, especially in the second half as we witness her question her career and future. It is the characterisation and story that are the weak points, as there are many sub-plots and characters throughout, all of which could have been taken fascinating directions, but none feel fleshed out or even completed. The film ends in a very conventional manner, and by this time it feels like we have seen a series of disjointed scenes rather than a proper film.
Unfortunately, there are many good ideas here, and technically the film is fantastic. The score creates an interesting, almost menacing atmosphere throughout, and the film is shot beautifully, but there is not enough story for this movie to be anything other than a bit above average.
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