"The New Girlfirend" finds a strikingly good balance between witty comedy and the emotional drama of overcoming someone's death while dealing with gender identity issues. Claire's conventional life is shaken by Virginia's desire to express herself by crossdressing and discovering the queer community. The two leading characters are rich and complex, making the film a journey to better understand both of them.
Since his film made from a Fassbinder script that Ozon, the overvalued Ozon, didn' look for a wicked fairy tale and here he found a potential possibility, largely wasted by his usual inability to release a film from a good formal behavior, descriptive and illustrative, clearly demonstrated by the horrendous ending. But in the transvestite show, although attributed to an "other", Dorothy in Oz was close by.
Mr. Ozon, who proves to be a legitimate filmmaker, grabs some moods from Almodóvar, yet giving priority to a seductive moderation over exuberance, and also from Xavier Dolan, with the particularity of being slightly more humorous and less staged. (3.5 stars)
Some late act scripting issues don't take away from the total enjoyment of this latest film from Ozon. A crossdressing widower becomes close with his late wife's best friend, in his female persona, and the relationship brings out behaviour and feelings that neither has explored fully before. Duris is good here but it's Demoustier who really impresses. Gender is such a fluid thing and one's true self must emerge.
I understand Ozon's agenda, it's a good one - subverting notions of masculinity and femininity, challenging transphobia and playing with the audience's expectations. Despite being commendable, it is just a little bit too knowing.
Rendell renders fraught, hair-raising scenarios out of of the interplay of knotty, needy psyches. Ozon, in this case at least, serves up slick, less-than-skin-deep bromides, pretty enough to sit through but too thin to sustain much thinking about. Tsk tsk and even harumph.
Pure melodrama melded with hyper-exaggerated plotting. The New Girlfriend comes off like a cheap, classless Almodovar but remains perplexingly engrossing. It's a bold, and often ridiculous cross-dressing fantasy. 3 stars
In each of his films, Ozon creates often-stylized worlds where his logic reigns, and require a leap of faith from audiences to fully enjoy the film. This film is no different featuring big, epic moments in a rather intimate drama. The ending takes his logic to further lengths, in a deus ex machina, which might prove too much at times.