A stylish and eccentric thriller that feels thoroughly French despite the English-speaking cast and the New York setting, with Natalie Portman in what surely must be one of the most memorable child performances of all time.
My first reaction to the title of this movie was to wonder if it was something in the spirit of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, maybe a horror parody of Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady? But no, instead this exquisite French film is a sumptuous and sensual drama about an impossible love between two women in 18th-century Brittany.
The royal palace of Versailles and its doomed queen Marie Antoinette get a new perspective in this French film, which covers the last fraught days of the monarchy through the eyes of a young woman serving as the queen’s official reader. While ultimately somewhat slight, the movie’s eavesdropping-on-history approach is compelling, and gains a lot from being shot at the real location.
A charming feel-good French drama/comedy about an unlikely friendship, The Intouchables is maybe not the most original film ever and doesn’t dig into its premise all that deeply. But it remains irresistible thanks to the exuberant lead performances and the film’s belief in the power of human empathy and resilience.
Our trip to the cinema to see this French film with the incomparable Isabelle Huppert started off with a bit of drama: as the room went dark and the opening credits rolled in, Mum and I realised we were in a wrong cinema and instead were watching a British war film, which explained the trailer for Dunkirk. Oops. We hurried across into the right theatre and luckily our session hasn’t started yet.
The whole time I watched this bonkers surrealist fever dream of a film, my feeling was, I’ve no idea what on earth this movie is about, but I want to keep watching just to see what happens next. It’s a one-of-a-kind movie alright.
Another movie I missed out on in the cinemas despite the best intentions, Lady Chatterley is a French adaptation of an earlier version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a once-notorious novel by D. H. Lawrence.