After crashing a posh Parisian soirée in search of food and wallets, wide-girl Cécile (Ledoyen) and her friend Samira pull a shoplifting stunt which goes awry; Samira is deported, Cécile arraigned. Making the most of her meagre resources, Cécile shoplifts a skirt suit and cold-calls on the law offices of the man whose wallet she stole, demanding help. Initially merely tickled by her chutzpah, Michel (Lanvin) quickly finds his fancy stoked. He takes both case and defendant. He's less enamoured of Vincent (Canet), a former boyfriend Cécile won't shake; but then his wife Viviane (Bouquet) isn't exactly keen on Cécile. A confidently appointed French thriller with a sense of class, Jolivet's adaptation of Georges Simenon's En cas de malheur offers an intelligent narrative dynamic spanning social and generational divisions, and cogent characterisations by an eminently watchable cast. A pity, then, that the basic dramatic situation's so hidebound. If Michel's dormant class-consciousness promises a variation on the usual midlife-affair material, it's never really pushed beyond the obvious. And while the subsequent passion play is often quite compelling, it gradually sinks into crude revenge drama.
Cast and crew
Anne Le Ny