Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud

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When Nelly (Béart) informs husband Jérôme that a certain Monsieur Arnaud (Serrault), an elderly friend of a friend, has offered her a fortune to help ease their financial troubles, Jérôme seems so unsurprised at her acceptance that she ends their relationship. Only then does she actually take the money, along with temp work typing up Arnaud's memoirs of his life as judge and businessman. A barely acknowledged intimacy grows between the young woman and her generous but temperamental employer, an intimacy threatened by jealousy when she begins seeing his publisher Vincent (Anglade). An exquisitely witty, beautifully moving film, Sautet's follow-up to Un Coeur en hiver is a similarly understated study in adult emotions. As the film proceeds quietly towards its unsentimental, but piercingly sad conclusion, Sautet's sure, light touch even allows for comic scenes (Lonsdale provides a splendidly morose cameo as a mysterious visitor to Arnaud's apartment). Béart is subtle and restrained, Serrault fastidious, moody, waspish, but given to moments of startling warmth and honesty; together they produce a fragile mood of humour and heartbreaking melancholy. Classical French film-making par excellence.

Release details

Duration: 106 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Claude Sautet
Screenwriter: Claude Sautet, Jacques Fieschi
Cast: Emmanuelle Béart
Michel Serrault
Jean-Hugues Anglade
Claire Nadeau
Françoise Brion
Michel Lonsdale
Charles Berling
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