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3.7
2,256 Ratings

Elle

Directed by Paul Verhoeven
France, Germany, 2016
Drama, Thriller, Comedy

Synopsis

When Michelle, the CEO of a gaming software company, is attacked in her home by an unknown assailant, she refuses to let it alter her precisely ordered life.

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Elle Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

2017 | Nominee: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Independent Spirit Awards

2017 | Winner: Best Female Lead

Brimming with razor-sharp dialogue, mostly delivered by Huppert with malicious glee, Elle busies itself with mocking middle-class problems such as parking, adultery, and ungracefully ageing parents. Verhoeven has cited The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972) as a key influence, and Elle similarly capitalises on the dramatic possibilities of the dinner-party scene.
June 22, 2017
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After Michèle has finished jerking off, she wipes herself with a Kleenex which she discards – and Huppert is fantastic here, as if saying “I know it’s not the way it’s done, but I am still doing it, darn it, for it’s a great performative gesture”. I love her at this moment, as she reconnects with all the actresses in the past who have allowed these tiny little breaches between the self and the performance, to express the gap between the way a woman’s part is written and the way a woman acts.
March 17, 2017
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Verhoeven deftly sketches a social milieu that is part Chabrol (due to Huppert’s presence) and part Buñuel: under the pleasant façade of ‘sophisticated’ bourgeois manners lie perverse power games and secret double lives. Distinct from the more detached ‘ensemble view’ favoured by those directors, Verhoeven and his screenwriter tell this complex tale by closely observing the enigmatic, ever-surprising behaviour of Michèle, who is among the most memorable screen creations of the past decade.
March 03, 2017
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What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Elle

    This is the perfect vehicle for Isabelle Huppert, the greatest living actor in cinema. Here she demonstrates a full range of subtle, mutli-faceted and intensely ambiguous emotions, one of her great roles where the viewer is left with a conflicted and complex portrait. We don't really know what she is. Verhoeven imbues a Chabrol-esque cat-and-mouse thriller with his own particularly trashy panache. Essential Huppert.

  • Ethan's rating of the film Elle

    Isabelle Huppert gives her most complex and intense performance since The Piano Teacher in this gripping, entertaining, and oftentimes shocking thriller from the great Paul Verhoeven that proves he still has it when it comes to spinning tales of complex fucked up characters with a big grey area where their ethics should be. With lots of twists and turns this film will have you on the edge of your seat the whole way.

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film Elle

    The blankest black comedy; modern dysfunctions & older urges. No Jacobean revenge here - too easy a route - instead a 'mind fuck' let alone rape fantasy that (as per the film) 'crushes' norms and expectations with sex abstracted from love into the unsafe territory of raw sensation. The power play is thrilling with control see-sawing with steely precision. Verhoeven's best to date; ditto Huppert. Black coffee indeed.

  • Mugino's rating of the film Elle

    Weeks after viewing, this film still clatters around my head like an itchy scab that won't heal. The incomparable Huppert is the inscrutable, aberrant Michelle, who I can only describe as the antithetical woman. She has none of the expected traits of the postmodern woman except for sex, which makes her actions and reactions such an all-consuming paradox. It's this dissonance that both vexes and intrigues.

  • Material Salva+ion's rating of the film Elle

    'Elle' was a complete cliché, mainly because of Isabelle Huppert's character and acting style. I'm really getting tired of seeing her play the same role over and over since 'La Pianiste': fucked up cold manipulative sexual fetishists. I would expect her to be capable of more nuances within that thematic realm. Also, Paul Verhoeven is really NOT a virtuoso of the genre as some might believe! Overrated.

  • Skinnedteen's rating of the film Elle

    Its that unsettling fine line between consensual sadomasochism and sexual assult in a twisted, unapologetic stockholm syndrome-y thriller. Just like the moral ambiguity of the plot, Huppert's poker face tells everything.

  • smndvdcl's rating of the film Elle

    Slugger of a drama - Huppert is one of the greats of French cinema who elevates this strong Verhoeven film tackling the shock-subject of rape. Isabelle deserves an Oscar for a brave role and for her legacy as one of the true method performers who willingly breaks taboos through channeling many challenging roles.

  • Huey McEvoy's rating of the film Elle

    "It's twisted," says Michele, proving that all scripts have at least one meta-comment. After a sleepless night scratching my head, I can only conclude that Verhoeven wanted his characters - the neighbour, his wife, the son, the best friend, and especially the sociopathic, ambiguous Michele - to react to events in a way that the majority of the audience would not, creating a deeply unsettling, disturbing experience.

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