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Love Like Poison

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
French filmmakers like Eric Rohmer, Catherine Breillat and more recently Céline Sciamma (‘Water Lillies’) and Lucile Hadzihalilovic (‘Innocence’) have sketched so well the strange mysteries of teenage sexuality and beliefs in the past, and now Katell Quillévéré, a 31-year-old French writer-director, joins their ranks with this study of a 14-year-old Breton girl struggling with church, family and lust.

Newcomer Clara Augarde is smartly cast as Anna, a reserved country girl whose physicality and behaviour teeters between childhood and adulthood. Her folks have split, and her mum, Jeanne (French singer Lio), is having a wobbly time of it and confides in a youthful priest (Stefano Cassetti) with an enthusiasm that’s more emotional than spiritual. Anna, too, is having a hard time with God: she faints at a funeral and approaches her confirmation with reservations at the same time as she is striking up a tentative first relationship with a local boy. Meanwhile, her bedridden grandad (Michel Galabru), with whom she and mum share a house when she’s not at boarding school, is behaving oddly, even asking her to lift up her dress and show her ‘that place from where I came’. It was never like this in Enid Blyton’s world…

It sounds eventful, but Quillévéré takes us gently and sensitively through this teenage minefield, working her pared-down, essential style of realism in her favour so that her story feels simple but also moving and significant by its end. There’s no melodrama here, just a series of key episodes that add up to a light but far from superficial portrait of one girl’s relationship with the world. There’s one lovely scene when Anna’s boyfriend serenades her and there’s also a terrifying bishop who sums up everything you need to know about Anna’s problems with religion. Both director and star are ones to watch.
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 13 May 2011
  • Duration:92 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Katell Quillévéré
  • Screenwriter:Katell Quillévéré
  • Cast:
    • Clara Augarde
    • Stefano Cassetti
    • Michel Galabru
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