The New Girlfriend (2014) Poster

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10/10
Brilliant, beautiful exploration of the nature of attraction, friendship and love.
paul-smeenis17 May 2016
I came to this film as a long-time lover of French cinema, a devotee of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine's masterful storytelling (here given its deserved production values at last, after all of the rather limiting low-budget TV adaptations) and Romain Duris' incredibly versatile, sensitive acting - so all the elements were already in place; it was pretty much a foregone conclusion I would adore it, but I still wasn't prepared for the emotional head-rush.

The nature of attraction is explored fascinatingly; it goes through stages including revulsion, acceptance, friendship, attraction and love and revisits them, with an ending that blew me away and stayed with me long after the film finished, making me think deeply about the limitless nature of love and things unexpectedly turning out for the best.

The two leads were captivating and the unexpected humorous touches at some of the saddest or serious of moments were a pure joy.
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8/10
Soon to be an essential contribution to film gender theory, it's also exquisite entertainment.
Sergeant_Tibbs17 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Francois Ozon has been one of the hottest French directors of the past couple of years. After the acclaimed Swimming Pool, In The House and Young & Beautiful, The New Girlfriend is the first one of his I've been able to see and he lives up to the hype. Although it's a quaint story, it has moments of bold ambition that truly pay off, with scenes that are quite reminiscent of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's tendency to dig into the past cinematically. It opens with an enthralling backstory montage to rival Up's Married Life, though with a short Katy Perry flavored interlude. It teeters on trite, but with a whole heap of charm, rich photography, an irresistible score and strong conviction from the actors, it's utterly bewitching and wins you over from then on for the experience. When Claire's (Anais Demoustier) best friend Laura (Isild Le Besco) dies at an unfortunate young age, she finds herself having to live up to her promise of looking over her widower, David (Romain Duris), and their six month old baby. However, after procrastinating out of pain for her loss and finally pushing herself to keep David company, she uncovers a shocking secret. It's the first of the film's turns and its primary topic of discussion. It's revealed that David is a frequent transvestite, a double life unlocked by his wife's death, and he dresses in her clothing to comfort his baby. He adopts the role of father and mother simultaneously, but also takes the place of Laura in Claire's life. At first repulsed, Claire eventually helps him on his journey of self-discovery as he takes his first steps outside in a dress. It's a fascinating study of gender identification and queer stigma, examining the insecurities about gender roles, projection and sexuality. Although David dresses and eventually identifies as a woman (aka 'Virginia'), he is not homosexual at all besides moments of fleeting mild temptation, and the film approaches that concept as something that people struggle to disassociate with. It's a film that feels textbook ready to contribute to queer theory with the way it explores all the possible angles. Sometimes it is a crux of the film that it appears to try too hard to cover all this ground regarding analysing sexuality rather than adding to the story, and those scenes don't land as organically as the arc of the main plot. Perhaps it's the liberalness of French cinema that leads the characters down that sexually experimental and fantastical path, but it feels out of tune. I've only seen Romain Duris in last year's Mood Indigo and 2005's The Beat That The Heart Skipped and he's stunned me each time. He's topped himself here. He's utterly immersed in his dual roles as David and Virginia with idiosyncratic nuances that feel flawlessly measured and deeply human. The film is told through the eyes of Anais Demoustier's Claire, who although is relatively a passive protagonist compared to David's arc, the way she subtly addresses her dilemmas, curiosities and last minute choices is a joy to watch. It's a very generous performance, and one that fortunately reflects back on her and it's easy to invest in both of them. With tragedy and comedy in equal measure, the film is exquisite entertainment outside of its academia ripe representations. The performances deliver laughs and emotion in an authentic way within the film's lively style. It's slickly made, with lush cinematography and swift editing making its dynamics feel incredibly kinetic which compliment the economic, poignant and liberating screenplay. Despite reservations with where the plot meanders and dips outside of its more interesting boundaries, The New Girlfriend is a confident, thought-provoking and extravagant piece of art. I will certainly be on the lookout for more Ozon in the future and dig into his back catalogue. 8/10
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9/10
I loved it.
nikkd15 September 2015
After going over the film list for TIFF 2014 this movie seemed to stand out to me. Based on what I was reading it was actually different from what I expected. I suppose my imagination is just not very creative lol.

I did see this movie with a female friend and she really enjoyed it as well. What I do remember if that within a few minutes of starting the whole theatre was in tears. And then a few minutes later we were all laughing so hard we were crying. That is all I will so so as not to spoil it. We did enjoy the acting, the lighting, the costumes etc. The ending was also very suspenseful and the way tings finished were very interesting. I guess you have to see it for yourself and make your own judgement.

I strongly urge you to watch it and come back with your comments, recommendations, suggestions.
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10/10
Stay Gold, Ponyboy !
Nodriesrespect14 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Erstwhile Wunderkind François Ozon finally regains his grand form left floundering in the wake of his 2007 fiasco and first (and thus far only) English language film ANGEL. His immediate follow-up, RICKY, proved wildly uneven with a head-scratching second half undoing its initial poignancy. POTICHE did extremely well at the box-office but couldn't help but feel like 8 WOMEN Lite with both THE REFUGE and IN THE HOUSE teetering on the brink of greatness but hampered by bland or unsatisfactory endings respectively. Reason to rejoice about THE NEW GIRLFRIEND then, all the more surprising because it is one of those rare instances that finds Ozon adapting a literary source (in this case, a Ruth Rendell potboiler) to accommodate his personal proclivities rather than working from an original, preferably self-penned screenplay, a skill he has been somewhat faltering at of late.

It was love at first sight for Claire and Laura, played as adults by Anaïs Demoustier and Isild Le Besco respectively, when they met at school aged 7 and were to become inseparable over the following years. Romance and marriage barely intervened so it was almost a given that Claire would vow to take care of Laura's husband David (Romain Duris) and their newborn baby Lucie when her BFF passed away mere months after childbirth. Now it's one thing to make such a promise but quite a different matter to follow through and Claire's so overcome with grief herself that she can't bear to be around her dead friend's husband, until she accidentally finds out his great secret...

Spoiler alert !!! Venturing into the late Laura's house when the doorbell goes unanswered, Claire stumbles across David in full female drag casually giving his daughter her afternoon bottle. Although he claims this is his admittedly rather unique way to cover up a mother's absence to his infant offspring, David can barely disguise his excitement when showing Claire his wardrobe, consisting mostly of Laura's altered clothes and wigs bought over the internet. Claire's initial shock turns to bemusement as she christens David's alter ego "Virginia" and agrees to take "her" shopping and to the movies, the Vivien Leigh version of WATERLOO BRIDGE at a repertory theater where Virginia's felt up by an anonymous patron, "her" excitement stemming not so much from sexual pleasure as from the stranger's casual acceptance of "her" as a woman.

Keeping David's secret life - and by extension her own as an all too willing accomplice - carefully hidden from her doting but clueless husband Gilles (the extraordinarily handsome Raphaël Personnaz, best known for playing MARIUS in Daniel Auteuil's recent Marcel Pagnol adaptations), Claire experiences a growing need to spend time with "Virginia" who's obviously filling the void left by Laura so they decide to spend an entire weekend together at the rural getaway of David's in-laws with lies told to all concerned. A trip to a pan-sexual nightclub confronts them with their secret selves as they watch sensational drag diva Eve Carlton mime to Nicole Croisille's haunting Une Femme Avec Toi, a song successfully treading the fine line between heartfelt and melodramatic similar to Ozon's finest work. The song's reappearance at the story's climax will provide an emotional sucker punch though it could so easily have slipped into mawkishness had the director (or his cast) hit the wrong notes.

I must admit to breathing a huge sigh of relief in witnessing the assurance with which Ozon handles this tricky material, his in your face impudence first endearing him to cinema critics worldwide having matured into forgiveness and understanding of what drives his troubled characters. The gorgeous glowing hues of the autumnal photography by Pascal Marti (who shot Philippe Labro's underrated RIVE DROITE, RIVE GAUCHE a full three decades ago) celebrate the "lifelong" friendship between Claire and Laura in the engaging opening montage, gaining a distinctly ironic edge when they return for an ambiguously "happy" ending that will have you pondering its morbidly unhealthy implications for days after-wards.

Still, even the most compelling tale would fall flat on its face without the right actors to tell it. Cast against type from his familiar ne'er do well Lotharios, Duris shines as the gender-conflicted David, his cross-dressing going from clumsy (sporting an overlooked five o'clock shadow when first going out) to completely convincing as "Virginia" gains gradual assurance, and the upper hand perhaps ? Up against such a showy part, it's not easy for youthful Anaïs Demoustier to hold her own, making it all the more impressive when she wrestles the limelight away from her experienced "leading lady". Claire's inner conflict remains very much the focus throughout, her affection for Laura having missed the opportunity of evolving into something more "transgressive" (as evidenced by a pair of highly erotic same sex fantasy sequences) with David/Virginia as a potential substitute. Of course, the ravishing redhead's willingness to undress (already displayed in Malgorzata Szumowska's sweltering ELLES) doesn't hurt and immediately endears her to this old pervert's heart. Always great to see veteran actress Aurore Clément (although she seems to have suffered some dodgy cosmetic surgery) as Laura's grieving mom and toothsome Isild Le Besco (sister of actress/director Maïwenn) practically creates an entire character out of thin air, projecting Laura's luminescence hovering over a narrative she's only spectrally part of.
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9/10
life-affirming
esperancaed17 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
What a beautiful film!

This movie is definitely one I will recommend if asked. I enjoyed watching the plot unfold and was never bored. The visual experience is comfortable since there are many calm scenes shot in beautiful places and soft light.

Considering the subject of this film I want to point out that it might not be a movie that trans* individuals find themselves relating to a lot, but rather one that is educational for people who wish to get an impression of what changes this kind of realization brings about in a person and their relationships.

The first statement I made because David, as he undergoes his transition to Virginia, faces just enough problems to give outsiders an idea of what it must be like to find ones whole life changed in such a way while also establishing a background for her that means that her transition is mostly the only thing she has to worry about.

She is privileged in many ways and thus never faces the additional problems a lot of trans* individuals do, simply because they have to work and/or have limited funds at their disposal. Virginia is laughed at by a man in public, but other than that does not appear to live in a part of the world where she needs to fear for her safety leaving the house as herself. She is fortunate in that way, too. This is not the norm, and movie-goers should keep that in mind.

It was very good to see that there was no fuss made about the little child the main character has. Her ability to be a parent is not brought in relation with her gender identity.

Trans* individuals hoping to find themselves in Virginia might be disappointed because this movie focuses less on the worldly everyday troubles that tend to dictate a life and much more on Virginia's relationships and how they evolve together with her identity, so many conversations are specific to her situation. Cis individuals will definitely recognize their own reactions in those of Virginias friend Claire, as one tends to have them in the exact same moments as she does throughout the movie.

If by the end of this visually pleasing, beautifully underscored movie one finds oneself ashamed for having sympathized with Claire when she told Virginia that her behaviour was 'ridiculous' and that she needed to 'stop this', then one would be right to feel that way.
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7/10
Boys will be girls
bob9982 May 2018
The first film I saw which had a transvestite character was The Damned, some 50 years ago. In the intervening years we've had any number of accounts of a man (why almost always a man?) who has to dress as a woman. Ozon's film has a stale air about it which works against our enjoyment.

For me Anais Demoustier is the sole strong actor in this; Duris and Personnaz give capable support but she must carry the story, and carry it she does very memorably. The feeling is always that punches are being pulled, that possibly painful moments are being glossed over. I expected more anger from Personnaz's character when he discovered the deception (the weekend in the country with Duris, instead of the mother's house). Everybody is so well behaved, it doesn't ring true. La Cage aux Folles had more sting to it, you knew how bigoted some people were.

I haven't really enjoyed an Ozon film since 8 femmes of 2002. He's coasting, giving us tried and true subjects and clichéd situations.
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8/10
People are strange, and that's OK
elg-3553424 March 2017
To avoid spoilers I won't discuss the plot. I'll just say that the movie is about people, in all their strangeness, and you'll come to understand and care about even the oddest among them. It's an enjoyable movie. It contains some tasteful but very hot sex scenes that mean it's not for the kids.
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7/10
A great film but there are some issues
grayner-210 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the best works by Ozon. He does a brilliant job in showing the process of a person in transition, the gradual changes, the high points and key moments. Romain Duris (David/Virginia) gives a stunning and nuanced performance of a man in grief after the death of his wife at a young age. In mourning and in taking care of his 6-month-old daughter Laura, he finds a part of himself awakened and he begins to express his desire to identify as a woman. He goes through many of the usual stages - dressing at home, going out for shopping, the exhilaration of being first identified as a woman etc. Before a culminating moment in the film, Virginia texts to friend Claire "Je suis une femme" (I am a woman)- meaning that the transformation in her mind is complete. We also can fully understand the ups and downs Claire goes through in being in this fully new situation. These aspects of the film are great.

Ozon then goes a bit off of the established path. He makes it important to understand that David does not identify as gay, a point often lost in portrayals of transgender individuals (sexual identity does not equal sexual orientation). We then see that there is a dimension for both Romain/Claire of creating a type of ersatz-Laura. Through Virginia, that deep friendship and perhaps even latent sexual desire can be acted upon. Again, so far so good.

I have 2 problems with the film. First, this is a portrayal of a transgender person in a very rarified environment, a bit like The Danish Girl. Sure, you don't need every film about a trans person to be beaten and constantly tormented to illustrate the hardships which trans people have to endure but this film is almost devoid of all of this. Virginia can go out to the family manner house and to the near-by accepting LGBT nightclub. Aside from some odd looks, we see nothing of issues with the outside world. What happens when David goes back to work? In the beginning of the film, he argues that his in-laws could take his daughter away. Yet we do not even see a conversation with them about this.

My biggest problem lies with the character of Claire. It becomes clear that she sees some form of emotional replacement of Laura in Virginia, which is fine. But she seems to neglect her own husband and family in the process. Her husband Gilles is amazingly understanding given everything that happens and is always shown to be supportive to whatever Claire wants. Yet Claire entertains the idea of a sexual relationship with Virginia. Worse than that, she and her husband are considering having a baby, an idea somehow abandoned. At the end of the film, we see Lucie, Virginia's daughter, picked up at school 7 years later by Virginia and Claire. We see no trace or evidence that Claire has had her own child, instead seemingly being a new ersatz parent for little Lucie. For me personally, the ending would have been more gratifying if they showed Claire with her own daughter and the 2 daughters could continue on a friendship. Instead, it seems from this brief scene that Claire has given up on her own family or perhaps has even left her husband. Either way, she seems to have neglected her caring husband and the audience were due at least a scene in which she informs him of her choices, particularly if she left the marriage.
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10/10
Wonderful Film
WilliamCKH14 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film was a wonderful surprise, a treasure found by accident. I'd never heard of this film, but knowing that Romain Duris and Anais Demoustier were in it was enough to draw me in. I've always enjoyed Duris' work. He has great range as an actor and goes all out in almost everything he does and Demoustier is a beauty whom I first saw in BIRD PEOPLE made only a year earlier.

So, the first ten minutes or so went by rather slowly, and I was only half paying attention to the film. But once we see Duris' character David transform into Virginia, and see Demoustier's character Claire react to the transformation, the film begins to flow in the most wonderful way. You're heart really goes out to David/Virginia as judgments fall by the wayside. You see the struggle, the vulnerability, and the joy all at once in Duris' performance, and how it draws Claire in. Demoustier's performance is so subtle and so beautiful in this film and balances with Duris' so effortlessly.

The dance these two do, and myriad of topics introduced, gender identity, sexual identity, moral identity, friendship, family all tackled in such a fresh way, i.e. not making too big a deal about it. Also, I found this film to be fun and funny and had a smile on my face throughout. I love the fact that the jokes, the laughs were derived from the shear joy and surprise of the scenes and not made at the expense of any of the characters or groups portrayed in the film. In the end, I felt not only entertained, but enlightened. I love films that create their own world, their own moral universe of codes and standards, their own ideas of what is right and wrong. This film stretched a little of my universe. It surprised me not only with its subject matter and its wonderful details, but offered me a chance to surprise myself with my own feelings towards them
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9/10
Can your BFF be a man?
Red-1254 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The French film Une nouvelle amie was shown in the U.S. with the title The New Girlfriend. It was written and directed by François Ozon.

Claire and Laura were best friends for life. Tragically, Laura dies suddenly, leaving her husband David and their infant daughter bereft of wife and mother. Claire (Anaïs Demoustier) visits David (Romain Duris) unannounced, and she is amazed that he is wearing Laura's clothes. We learn that David enjoys cross-dressing, and he (as Virginia) and Claire become BFF's.

That means there's a triangle, or quadrangle, depending on your point of view. We have Clare and her husband, and David, and/or Virginia. The rest of the movie plays out around these relationships.

As I write this review, the film has an IMDb rating of only 6.6. I think it's much better than that, and I hope potential viewers won't be turned away by the underrating of this film.

We saw Une nouvelle amie on the large screen as part of the great ImageOut, the Rochester LGBTQ Film Festival. It will work very well on the small screen. Find it and see it!
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The less you know, the better
rogerdarlington28 May 2015
Sometimes, the less you know about a film, the more you are likely to enjoy it. This is one of those times. All I really knew about the movie was that it was French and appreciated by public and critics alike. That was enough for me and ensured that the surprises really were surprises.

You need to know more? OK, the film is based on a 1985 short Story by Ruth Rendell and the directed by François Ozon ("Potiche"). What? You want more? The core of the film is the relationship between characters - the husband and best friend of the recently deceased Laura - ably acted by Romain Duris and Anaïs Demoustier.

Oh, gosh. You want to know what it's about? Let's just say that it's an amusingly serious - if this is not too oxymoronic - examination of sexual identity. And that really is all I'm going to tell you about this enjoyable movie. Now see it for yourself.

PS 1 Why are there so few reviews of this interesting film on IMDb?

PS 2 Why do the IMDb reviews of this film give away so many plot spoilers?
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From a dull beginning, to a great film!
val-soph9 July 2015
i am surprised to see negative reviews on this film. 1 star? I wonder what could have been so bad in the movie to deserve 1 star...

The first 20 minutes of the film are rather dull but as the film develops, the mystery unveils and the clichés disappear. Isild Le Besco (Laura) is fairly bad which is why the movie is so difficult to watch in the beginning, unfortunately.

Roman Duris (David) and Anais Demoustier (Claire) are excellent together. I could feel every line, every movement, every thought.

I felt deeply overwhelmed when the film ended. The trailer is perfect, as it doesn't reveal too much. Please do not read reviews of the movie with spoilers, you will certainly lose the surprise effect of the plot.

9/10

9 stars because of the beginning, otherwise WELL DONE Francois Ozon!
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6/10
Crossdressing drama intrigues at times, falls flat at times
paul-allaer11 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"The New Girlfriend" (2014 release from France; original title "Une nouvelle amie"; 107 min.) brings the story of David and close friends. As the movie opens, we see make up being applied to a woman's face, perhaps for a wedding? No! We are fooled as it turns out to be the woman's funeral. In a flashback we get to know that woman, Laura, and her BFF Claire. Laura ends up marrying David and Claire marries Gilles. Then, tragically, shortly after giving birth to a baby girl, Laura passes away. Claire promises at the funeral to help David and the baby. Shortly thereafter when Claire stops by David's house unexpectedly, she finds him in Laura's clothes, much to her shock. At this point we're at most 15 minutes into the movie, but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from French director Francois Ozon, who previously has brought us such excellent movies as "In the House", "Potiche" and "Swimming Pooll". Here, he takes a short story (originally written by Ruth Rendall) and turns it into a feature length about the issue of crossdressing. As David explores his feminine side, Claire must decide whether to support him, and if so, to what extend could this throw a wrinkle into her own marriage to Gilles? At times the film succeeds, at times the film misses. The overall plot does seem a little light for a movie that goes for nearly 1 hr. 50 min. There are several notable performances, none more than of course Romain Duris as David (he was nominated for the French equivalent of the Oscar for Best Actor). Anaïs Demoustier as Claire is quite the revelation too (for me anyway). Notable is the excellent orchestral score, courtesy of French composer Philippe Rombi. There are also a number of song placements in the movie, including Katy Perry's "Hot + Cold", and, even more appropriate, Amanda Lear (with "Follow Me", playing in a nightclub scene), "Une nouvelle amie" was released over a year ago, and this weekend it showed up out of the blue at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati without any hype or advertising. Why now, I have no idea, but better late than never, I suppose. The early evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great. As to the movie itself, I can't help but feel slightly disappointed, as I feel it doesn't measure up to the other movies I've seen from Francois Ozon. If you get a chance to check out "The New Girlfriend", be it in the theater, on VOD or on DVD/Blu-ray, I suggest you do and then draw your own conclusion.
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1/10
Ozon's worst film of his career. Awful.
rayinlondon8 September 2014
I saw THE NEW GIRLFRIEND at the Toronto International Film Festival. I think its director (Francois Ozon) was afraid to show it at Cannes for fear of being booed. This is a genuinely terrible work of kitchen sink drama that is not worthy of being played on the LIFETIME Network. It is exaggerated, clichéd, politically correct garbage. I hated this film, and have given up on Ozon forever. The only redeeming part of the movie is a great performance by Anais Demoustier, who does a nice job playing a bored housewife whose life is turned upside down by the death of her best friend from childhood. Romain Duris's performance is rather boring, with endless repetition of the same notes over and over again. Not a single note of this film feels genuine. It is totally contrived. I hope French moviegoers will AVOID this film at the Box Office.
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7/10
A very, very unusual sort of romance...
MartinHafer29 February 2016
"The New Girlfriend" is a film that will most likely challenge many viewers. After all, it presents some aspects of human sexuality that clearly will offend some and the film is filled with nudity. However, it is very well made in interesting throughout.

The picture begins with a lovely montage in which you see two young girls, Laura and Claire, as they meet, become best friends, spend their adolescent, teen and adult lives together. Each marries and Laura has a baby...and things look great. But then the young mother, Laura, dies and naturally everyone is bereft.

Some time passes and Claire (Anaïs Demoustier) goes to check in on Laura's husband, David (Romain Duris) and is shocked to find that he is dressed as a woman. He makes an excuse that he's dressed like a woman to make it easier for the baby...but it soon becomes clear that he's been dressing like a woman for years....just not publicly.

Through the course of the film, David/Virginia and Claire become close friends...very close friends. She helps him play the role of Virginia better but there is a problem...Claire's own sexuality is uncertain. She fantasizes about David being gay, though throughout the film he appears straight...even when he is Virginia. But her own feelings and orientation are quite vague.

The film explores the wide range of human sexuality and experience and does it quite well. It is very well acted and directed. My only qualm is one flashback scene where you see David undressing and caressing his dead wife...it's pretty disturbing and unnecessary. Overall, a well made film that leaves lots and lots of questions unanswered and might also leave the viewer a bit disturbed as well.
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4/10
Stereotypes and lack of psychological development
fedemontella29 September 2020
I do like Ozon and many of his movies prove his intelligence and sensibility. BUT this movie misses the point completely on character development, feelings and dynamics on so many levels. E.g. Virginia as a trans woman is not believable, Claire shows no empathy for her husband, the whole thing about being gay/transgender/cross dresser/drag queen is all mixed up and confused. The chances to educate the crowds os a delicate issue and to elevate a character through a story about love are completely missed in this movie.
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7/10
Rainbow colored grieving leads to the happier days ahead.
ian-3912523 July 2019
This film is better than it sounded when I read the synopsis in the guide. It's not overly salacious or politically correct but it does put another nail in the coffin for boring white straight guys. It's a story about grief perhaps but it seems to celebrate people accepting who they are even if that's a little left of Centre, like cross dressing. The lead actress is fantastic at her role. It's a meaty premise, lightly handled with French charm. You don't have to be a rainbow warrior to enjoy it. Sure it's a little too neatly wrapped up, but it's like a little pomegranate in your salad. It kinda wakes you up.
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8/10
A young woman makes a surprising discovery about the husband of her late best friend
emepe13 July 2015
In the summary, I'm only quoting IMDb's storyline for this film. This is all you need to know about its plot.

I just like Ozon's films. I have my favourites, but in all of them I find what I found on Une nouvelle amie: Good story, provocative, even thrilling; good script; well filmed; very nice cinematography; excellent performances. Both Romain Duris and Anaïs Demoustier fit perfectly in their roles. I'd already seen Duris in a couple of films where he provided very good and convincing performances (I now recall De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté; very nice), thus I was happy to find him again (I watched the film only knowing it was by Ozon; that's all I needed to know) and, at the same time, quite surprised about his role. I knew nothing about Anaïs Demoustier and just loved her. Not only she gave a very nice performance but she is also beautiful.

If you are a Ozon fan, like myself, you cannot miss this film.

If you just like plain good cinema, give this film a try. You will enjoy it.
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6/10
Comedy or drama?
euroGary24 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Based on a story by the late Ruth Rendell, 'The New Girlfriend' has the very pretty Anaïs Demoustier as the tomboyish Claire, who, when her best friend dies, discovers the friend's husband David (Romain Duris) is a cross-dresser. At first unsure how to treat David, she eventually responds to his loneliness and the pair grow closer. But what implications does the burgeoning relationship have for Claire's own sexuality and her relationship with her husband (Raphaël Personnaz, also very pretty)?

The problem I have with this is that it is difficult to know what director/adaptor François Ozon is aiming for: social drama, or romcom? There are elements of both: David's assertion that he is not homosexual is believable and the scenes when he (in drag) and Claire go on holiday have a nice naturalistic feel about them. But then there are scenes played for laughs, such as when, dressed as a man, David sits in a faux-feminine position or forgets to wipe off his lipstick when greeting his mother-in-law. Perhaps the biggest problem of all is Duris: he's a fine actor, but with his height and heavy five o'clock shadow (which even the make-up department can't hide) he makes about as convincing a woman as did Bernard Bresslaw in all those 'Carry on' films...
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1/10
Honestly this film is a disgrace to Cinema (from a long standing cinephile)
lukas-grajauskas25 May 2015
It was just an appalling film. I wasn't even sure what genre it was...it didn't have the intensity needed to be a drama, no real psychological tension to be a thriller, nor was it a comedy - not at all funny, awkward, flat, poorly acted...or perhaps just horribly directed, but perhaps above all it was just an absurd melodrama that left me uncomfortable, very shady and so offensive: homophobic, transphobic and so disrespectful...and done so one such a subtle level, allowing characters to throw such casual lines as: "Lucy has been having a hard time...she lost her mom and now she has got a gay dad".... not a joke, not a sarcasm, but the general and naturally unchallenged and so easily it seems digestible thought by film's positive, and charming and exemplary character..and there was nothing in the script for Anaïs character to react this to.....it was absolutely flat..just bizarre. I felt more and more uncomfortable about this film, by how completely unbelievable and cliché its story and twists were, how stereotypical and superficial the main issue of the film was portrayed, I was embarrassed to sit and witness it, with its cliché showcase of glamour and rich life which was infused with meaninglessness that is celebrated as some sort of revelation in character's transformational journey - I mean it has to be the worst transgender film in the history of the film - no trans person could identify with this film, it's demeaning, disrespectful, doesn't do no justice and if anything darkens people's knowledge of what trans people actually go through, it creates nothing but a more shallow stereotypical outlook handed as an 'entertainment' inviting everyone to laugh AT the main character rather than WITH. Sadly, we got this instead of a film which stimulates an actual much needed dialogue and awareness with integrity, tenderness and raw material. I am so upset with this film, there were a few people who left before me and my biggest regret is that I didn't leave before them. I resent Ozon and I am not sure if I will ever go watch his another film....and I am disappointed that such delicately and subtly insulting film is being blindly screened....a sad day for a cinema.
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3/10
Unconvincing and unaffecting
frukuk8 April 2019
(I'm conscious of not writing anything that could be considered to be a "spoiler", so please excuse me if my comments are a little abstract.)

The precise motivation of the two leads was unclear; the "pre-event" part of the film seemed rushed, so there wasn't much time in which to appreciate the potentially formative events in their early lives.

I'd thought this film was going to be about "transitive closure" (no pun intended): if A is close to B and B is close to C, then A will be close to C (in the enforced absence of B). But, having watched it to the very end, I'm not really sure what it was supposed to be about.

It's interesting that the original French title of this film, when translated into English, is "A new female friend", rather than the assigned English title, "The New Girlfriend". While it's true that the title of the source material (by Ruth Rendell) is also "The New Girlfriend", I do think assigning "A new female friend", as the English title, would have been more fitting and less misdirecting.
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7/10
Ozon's latest explores and defies any simply categorisation of human sexuality
lasttimeisaw22 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Ozon's latest picture is a queer and lurid modern tale on human's sexuality, a consistent motif of his canon, and this time, he goes even further, transmutes the recently-departed Ruth Rendell's 1985 short story THE NEW GIRLFRIEND into a glossy drama-comedy, exploring the avant-garde conception of two people's realisation of their own sexual individuality, which leaps beyond the usual straight/gay/bisexual boundary.

The link between David (Duris) and Claire (Demoustier) is Laura (Le Besco), she is David's wife and Claire's bestie since childhood, after giving birth to a baby girl Lucie, Laura passes away, which leaves both devastating, the film starts with Laura's funeral, she is buried in her wedding dress, then within five minutes, the narrative flips bracingly through Laura and Claire's growth trajectory until the present, when Claire speaks in her best friend's funeral ceremony and declares that she will adhere to her vow, to take care Lucie and David. By an incident, Laura surprisingly discovers that David is a cross-dresser, after the initial shock, Claire seems to find a new way to deal with Laura's death when David's female identity Virginia, sports Laura's dress and perfume, becomes a new replacement and wakes up her latent lesbianism which will damage her marriage with the unwitting Gilles (Personnaz).

Ostensibly the film is developing according to a familiar pattern, as we witness David experience a full-blooming of his transvestite identity alongside Claire's assistance, which peaks in the heartfelt rendition of UNE FEMME AVEC TOI by a trans-singer in a night club. Duris delivers a brilliant turn in this gender confusion role, the incompatibility of his bony figure and very masculine face as a woman creates a ludicrous laughing point, it is always an award-worthy platform for actors acting-in-drag, Duris might not look as ravishing as Melvil Poupaud in LAURENCE ALWAYS (2012), but he defty galvanises warmth and fondness in David/Virginia.

In fact, the film's mainstay is always on Claire, whose affection towards Laura can be spotted from earlier with yearning gaze, when she realises Laura is attracted to me, she represses her feelings and chooses a conventional marriage following Laura's steps. Only when she and Virginia take a getaway in Laura's childhood house, the long-dormant impulsion is resuscitated, here Ozon cunningly deploys a trickery in Claire's dream sequence to show viewers that Laura is the one she desires, not David, no matter how Virginia is appealing to her, in the end, David's male sex organ is the real deal-breaker. Demoustier plays Claire's gradual awakening inconspicuously, like her character, Claire is not a prima donna, an attention-grabber, she is pretty but more inward-looking. Demoustier's effort cannot be overlooked even though Duris' role is far meatier.

Now to the downside, during the latter half, it seems that Ozon becomes slack when the shopworn car-accident is wantonly introduced to literally provide David a second chance to wake up in her new identity when all the lies and fronts are debunked, more cringe-worthy is she can only wake up after Claire dresses her up as Virginia and sings her UNE FEMME AVEC MOI. Also, Ozon's morbid emphasis on dressing dead body is too over under the context, there is no need to go that far. Finally the open ending, it is frustrating to leave the agreeable Gilles out of the picture without any indication since he is the most innocent one among them, he deserves a better treatment after all.
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10/10
Another remarkable movie of Francois Ozon
slootje1230 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Une Nouvelle Amie is at least an interesting movie of Francois Ozon. For me this is another rare movie with an remarkable storyline, emotional depth and outstanding performances of the lead actors. It all leads towards the scene where David literally wakes up of his coma and is reborn as Virginia and Claire has accepted that she is in love with her, although he is a man. Both are driven by their love for the deceased Laura, the wife of David and the BFF of Claire. Ozon uses the song Une Femme avec Toi as extra drama element and it works.

The combination of these facts – the death of Laura and the coming-out of David - is strange and makes it hard to imagine or identify, but Une Nouvelle Amie succeeds and that is exactly why this is an outstanding movie. It is about looks, feelings, character, identity, relationships.

Although Romain Duris is nominated for a few awards - which is OK because his performance is as always solid and authentic – it is Anais Demoustier who really delivers an extra-ordinary performance in her role as the confused Claire. Both expose themselves in erotic scenes. Raphael Personnaz as the ordinary husband of Claire makes this romantic relationship drama complete.

I hope that Francois Ozon keeps up with his Woody Allen-like speed of making movies.
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2/10
Ozon confusion.
jromanbaker12 December 2019
I respect and watch a lot of French film. I also have a few directors I have a problem with. I have seen most of Ozon's films, and not one of them have I really responded to. I find in his work a confusion of sexuality or should I say sexualities. His way of filming always seems crisp and clear, and yet he confuses me as a director. With some actors he is excellent. Jeanne Moreau, Danielle Darrieux and of course Charlotte Rampling, but I cannot take his scenarios seriously. I have as I said a problem of where the centre is in his work. He seems to float over issues, and the subject of death which he touches on in some of his films never quite ring true. I see a pretty coffin in this film, a beautiful woman in it and then the closing of the coffin lid. It just seemed morbidly superficial. He also seems to like women so much and directing them that he even ( quite successfully ) turns Roman Duris into an imitation of one. He even turns a heterosexual scene into a travesty ( I use the word intentionally ) of a Lesbian one. It fails and from broad humour that reminded me he had seen ' Some Like It Hot ' too often it descends into, well not exactly tragedy, but something confusing between the comic and the serious. I came away thinking that I enjoyed the stereotype mess of it, and for that I give it 2 for pleasure. Did I ' buy ' the whole experience. Confusedly no. The ending is perhaps daring for some, but was ultimately politically correct and conformist at the same time.
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5/10
good film, predictable - what I expected
braquecubism23 December 2019
I think 5-6 stars in generous. it's slow, and very predictable- cross dressing in 2015 is not what it sued to be. so no shock or surprise. It's far from the worse film I've seen this year. some of the plot points, re Claire, her relationship to her very attractive, kind, understanding husband is muddled. the resolution is a bit lopsided. I'd like to say more but I don't want to have to go to spoilers. what I just noticed is, most French films, every one is solidly middle class, with good jobs, nice house, nice cars, money to go on vacation. unless its about non whites in poor areas struggling with racism and drugs. seems to me in the 40-50s there were more working poor, blue collar, and struggling students in French films.
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