I often hear people saying that most directors today lack originality. How about this for a piece that is original, involving, and intensely moving? Rohmer's last film is a joy to watch. Who else would create such a fine piece out of such an absurd and seemingly old-fashioned premise? This film feels like a conversation with someone very old, knowledgeable, and profoundly charming, and who is completely devoid of interest in being fashionable and relevant. But, as it often happens, we learn a lot from intelligent people without realising what we learn - just from being with them. So, it is as if Rohmer had taken the viewer, in this movie, into a painting by Poussin or by Claude. The talkative style - with long, declamatory passages on abstract discussions of spiritual and physical love - is entirely consistent with the camerawork, which is as formal as it can possibly be, and in which scenes are composed like visual disquisitions on the relationship between spiritual love and nature.
Someone famously said that watching Rohmer was like watching paint dry. Yes, maybe: if what you want is car chases, convoluted plots with assassinations and wild sexual content, sure, this is going to be as boring as it gets. But if you can allow yourself to follow this movie in what it tries to do, to engage in its rhythms, its contrasts between abstract speculation and physical desire, its almost archaelogical attempt to think in the way that a 17th century mind might have thought, then you may find this to be a treat like few can be.