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Time Out saysJune 1940: fleeing Paris for the south with her 12-year-old son and small daughter, widowed teacher Odile (Emmanuelle Béart) finds it hard enough sheltering in the forest after Nazi planes bomb the road, but her discomfort isn’t eased much by her son accepting the help of the slightly older ‘boy’ Yvan (Gaspard Ulliel), a mysterious sort with manners that are rough even by the rural standards Odile silently patronises. Still, Yvan finds and breaks into an isolated mansion, where the four gradually begin to make a home for themselves. But how long will their presence remain undetected?
André Téchiné’s 2003 film is modest, sometimes predictable and in many ways utterly conventional, except for the expert way in which he slowly but confidently adds layer upon layer of telling social and psychological detail to build an emotional, authentically gripping thriller-cum-melodrama. The performances are sturdy, and that of Béart excellent, while Agnès Godard’s camera ensures that it never looks less than ravishing. A small movie, then, but very pleasingly intelligent.
Author: Geoff Andrew
Fri Mar 24 2006