An extraordinary collaboration between two legends of French cinema, Catherine Breillat’s brutally candid autobiographical drama stars Isabelle Huppert as a stroke-afflicted filmmaker manipulated by a notorious con man.
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A lonely aging film director allows herself to be cheated out of everything she owns by a thuggish con-man. In real life when we hear of this sort of thing happening one's first reaction is to wonder how anyone could allow themselves to be scammed so ruthlessly. Far too often we learn that the victim is as clueless as we are. Breillat herself offers no answers. These things happen why do you need to know why?
One of Isabelle Huppert's finest performances. A tragic true story about vulnerability and the illogical things we do when weak. Their relationship is so bizarre. It's almost as if she relishes in the idea of taking care of someone else in her frail, codependent state.
Not up to Breillat's usual standards. Engrossed by the idea of telling her own story, she seems to have lost sight of her usual flair for beauty and sensuality. In general, I find that films based on a true story are usually not that great. Disappointing, but Huppert's fine acting skills make this film bearable.
Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" can be opposed to this film. The two works seem to be looking at different, sometimes parallel, other times tangent things in similar settings. What makes us fragile, what is debilitating in our nature and how does a relationship foster/overcome weakness? Both films start with lead characters that need to rebuild themselves after a event that changes their body dramatically.
It's that pathological thing that we do. In 'The Frog and the Scorpion', as the frog is drowning the scorpion says "I could not help myself. It is my nature." The whole thing seemed a bit rushed, and Huppert (best actress in the world) did not perform up to standard.
Great concept and premise with decent acting that seems to fall down somewhere in the last third. It feels like it wants to be trickier as it's plotted like a thriller but ends up being about the actual 'weakness of a director for her leading man' which is stated blatantly at the start. 3 stars
I hate to disagree with the negative reviews here, but this is a psychologically compelling story that goes well beyond mere manipulation by a con artist. Maud and Vilko are engaged in a match of wits -- they both want to tame and control the other. Nor is the ending straightforward, as Maud is as much to blame for her troubles as is Vilko. "It was me and it wasn't me." More subtle than Breillat's other films.