After seeing Elizabeth Olsen so sad in ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ and Oscar Isaac barely surviving winter in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, it’s nice to see the pair enjoy a bit of on-screen boots-knocking as illicit lovers in this bazillionth adaptation of Emile Zola’s 1867 novel ‘Thérèse Raquin’. The film’s dank version of 1860s Paris is a place of musty shops and asthmatic, annoying husbands. But whenever the lovers draw close, sunshine appears and everything heats up. Their chemistry is a hungry fire.
Olsen is Thérèse, whose pale, sex-challenged spouse (Tom Felton) is not long for this world. Zola’s plot (and this so-so adaptation, better directed than paced) focuses on the adulterers’ guilt. It’s a moralistic story, one that doesn’t quite suit the modern energy of the cast. But Jessica Lange seizes on the role of a grieving mother and provides the film’s grace note.
Cast and crew