A British author seeks inspiration and solitude at her publishers holiday home in in the South of France. Her quietude is soon disrupted by the reckless, erotic lifestyle of the his daughter. Their tumultuous interactions set off a series of disturbing events.
After a career comeback with Under the Sand, British actor Charlotte Rampling reunites with François Ozon in this erotic thriller, contemporary and Hitchcockian, with a twist that’s to die for. Co-starring Ludivine Sagnier, fresh from Ozon’s 8 femme as Rampling’s femme fatale adversary.
This is a subtle film on the role of the writer, their relationship to reality and inspiration. The thriller plot is a background for a more complex interplay of patterns of imagination, fantasy and desire.
Mysterious, erotic, intriguing, voyeuristic, this is Ozon's best film. A simmering potboiler with echoes of Hitchcock (Rear Window) and Polanski, it's a true chamber piece, a film of style, atmosphere and strong central performances. The ambiguous ending suggests this isn't water tight but it barely matters.
Could a French summer retreat inspire a sultry romantic murder story? Charlotte Rampling wonderfully plays the cool dim-eyed crime writer Sarah Morton whose publisher offers her the chance to stay at his rural villa in Luberon's idyllic countryside to inspire her next book. Tensions frustrate Sarah's focus when the publisher's daughter Julie arrives and attracts a stormy sexual mystery around her. One of Ozon's best.
What was real? What wasn't? Towards the end things did get very surreal, and I really could feel that some twist was coming, but I expected that it would leave me with more definitive conclusions. But I didn't mind this sort of open-ending at all: what an excellent film! It was never obvious, never predictable, never boring. Charlotte Rampling was brilliant, and so was the whole story... within the story!
A crisp riff on La Piscine (revisited yet again) with a generally engaging melie of eroticism, alter egos and blurry reality despite a rather tricksy ending. Rampling steels her way through the sometimes opaque script with a certain hand.
The script could definitely be far better. There are incoherences like the fact that Julie talks about her father on the phone (like she is made or something ?) and then, we learn that her mother is dead.... Just doesn't make sense, like the end which doesn't give more to the movie and should have been removed.