An Impossible Love (2018)
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Typist Rachel meets translator Philippe in small-town 1950s France. Even on their first date there are signs he considers himself a cut above her: he suggests she should read Nietzsche. But he is charming, handsome, and Rachel finds him fascinating. A passionate affair ensues, but when Rachel finds herself pregnant Philippe declares he will not marry her and disappears out of Rachel's life for years at a time, not even making any financial contribution to baby Chantal's upkeep until she is a teenager. But despite his caddish treatment of her (which includes marrying another woman when he also knocks her up because she, unlike Rachel, comes from a rich family), he is always able to convince Rachel to welcome him back to her bed - until his ultimate betrayal. Years later, Chantal has grown into an unpleasantly self-centered individual and Rachel has new conflict with which to deal.
The problem with this film is Philippe is such a pantomime villain - superior, selfish, irresponsible and cruel, he has no redeeming features at all. If he is indeed based on a real person who did what Philippe does in the film, it would have been difficult for director/co-screenwriter Catherine Corsini to make him sympathetic, but it detracts from what is otherwise a very grounded story when one of the major characters is such a cardboard cut-out. Niels Schneider does what he can with the role, but inevitably is constrained by the limited dimensions of the character he must portray. Belgian actress Virginie Efira, as the mumsy Rachel, has more with which to play and delivers a likeable performance. There's also a very nice turn from Estelle Lescure as the teenaged Chantal.
Seen at the 2018 London Film Festival.