The Girl Cut in Two (15)

Film

Drama

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue May 19 2009

‘French society may be drifting towards Puritanism or decadence,’ says deciduous, sixtysomething, Goncourt-winning author Charles Saint-Denis (a marvellously offhand François Berléand) in a mock-channel TV interview in this nonchalantly acidic, upper-class-baiting delight by approaching-nonagenarian director Claude Chabrol. Charles is clearly a fully paid-up member of the decadent party: holed up in splendid isolation in his modernist manse in the Lyon countryside, the old married roué, gourmand, aphorist and erotomane is dubbed affectionately ‘the Marquis de Sade’ by his well-preserved publisher Capucine (Mathilda May).

He’s moved to join the despised Parisian ‘media circus’ having smelled fresh blood in Ludivine Sagnier’s honest-hearted, less socially favoured weather girl, who he subjects to a series of ‘free-love’ humiliations and abasements in his upmarket brothel. Meanwhile, the unfortunate woman is assailed, in the equally threatening second half of a destructive pincer-movement, by the manic attentions of idle, arrogant, unstable, fatherless – and puritan – millionaire Paul (Benoít Magimel) intent on marriage and possession.

An immaculate script, written with his long-term collaborator Cécile Maistre, reinvents the celebrated 1906 White murder case as a barbed anti-French-establishment anti-fairy tale (Sagnier’s weather girl is named Deneige – ‘snow’). Beautifully lit and crisply shot by Eduardo Serra, and directed with a confidence and seeming ease that stems from (and quotes) some 60 years of post-New Wave cinematic mastery, Chabrol’s latest comedy of manners is a minor stylistic and tonal triumph.

Eschewing explicit moral condemnation in favour of a scabrous Buñuelian cool, humanised by a marvellously affecting central performance by Sagnier, and surrounded intriguingly by satellite performances which play riskily and amusingly with the edges of self-parody, this is one of Chabrol’s most elegant, acerbic and heartfelt entertainments in years.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri May 22, 2009

Duration:

115 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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LiveReviews|12
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ozlock

Almost two hours waiting for something to happen. Itz almost a shaggy dog story. Full of depravity and the promise of love, passion or the erotic that never arrives. Worse yet is the terrible rendition of an aria from Turandot--I should have know then that this would be a bomb.

ozlock

Almost two hours waiting for something to happen. Itz almost a shaggy dog story. Full of depravity and the promise of love, passion or the erotic that never arrives. Worse yet is the terrible rendition of an aria from Turandot--I should have know then that this would be a bomb.

Francesca

If you like French movies and Chabrol you will enjoy this one for sure! It's definitely one of his best! and if you don't like Ludivine Sagnier I cannot help you mate!!!

Francesca

If you like French movies and Chabrol you will enjoy this one for sure! It's definitely one of his best! and if you don't like Ludivine Sagnier I cannot help you mate!!!

karl berlin

This is the first film where I have walked out before the end in over ten years. It is a real stinker. The themes and "ideas" would have been dated thirty years ago. And how we are possibly expected to believe the premise that this attractive lady could be even vaguely interested in either of the men in this film is beyond me. Aging male fantasy of the dullest type. The dialogue was just embarrassing. How this has had even middling reviews astonishes me. Avoid this film.

karl berlin

This is the first film where I have walked out before the end in over ten years. It is a real stinker. The themes and "ideas" would have been dated thirty years ago. And how we are possibly expected to believe the premise that this attractive lady could be even vaguely interested in either of the men in this film is beyond me. Aging male fantasy of the dullest type. The dialogue was just embarrassing. How this has had even middling reviews astonishes me. Avoid this film.

temi

Absolutely stunning movie. Great performances, great script. Intelligent. Nervewracking.

temi

Absolutely stunning movie. Great performances, great script. Intelligent. Nervewracking.

Hugh Stevens

A comedy about eros which is completely lacking in erotic tension. Obsession occurs at first glance - weather girl loves elderly and unattractive writer, rich spoilt boy loves weather girl - and with a complete lack of complexity. A Sadean plotline develops but the film never really explores the instabilities of power in relationships. Chabrol, seventy-nine years old, has made the stupidest movie about the mysterious draw of unattractive old men in what feels like 1950s France. A load of unredeemable crap.

Hugh Stevens

A comedy about eros which is completely lacking in erotic tension. Obsession occurs at first glance - weather girl loves elderly and unattractive writer, rich spoilt boy loves weather girl - and with a complete lack of complexity. A Sadean plotline develops but the film never really explores the instabilities of power in relationships. Chabrol, seventy-nine years old, has made the stupidest movie about the mysterious draw of unattractive old men in what feels like 1950s France. A load of unredeemable crap.

daryl beech

Seen 10 movies so far in Sydney Film Festival - this by far the worst ! Caricatures of ghastly French bourgeoisie , & even sex scenes feeble.

daryl beech

Seen 10 movies so far in Sydney Film Festival - this by far the worst ! Caricatures of ghastly French bourgeoisie , & even sex scenes feeble.