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The Woman in the Fifth 2011

3.1 out of 5 stars (45) IMDb 5.3/10

A college lecturer flees to Paris after a scandal costs him his job. In the City of Light, he meets a widow who might be involved in a series of murders.

Starring:
Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas
Runtime:
1 hour, 23 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director Pawel Pawlikowski
Starring Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas
Supporting actors Joanna Kulig, Samir Guesmi, Delphine Chuillot, Julie Papillon, Geoffrey Carey, Mamadou Minte, Mohamed Aroussi, Jean-Louis Cassarino, Judith Burnett, Marcela Iacub, Wilfred Benaïche, Pierre Marcoux, Rosine Favey, Anne Benoît, Grégory Gadebois, Donel Jacksman, Laurent Lévy, Doug Rand
Studio Curzon Artificial Eye
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 19 April 2012
Format: DVD
There are some films where it's almost impossible to go into detail without spoiling your enjoyment of the movie. `Woman in the Fifth' is one of those. It's an intricate, intelligent, fragmented thriller which plays with notions of reality and the boundary between imagination and actuality. Normally I'd try to tell you more about it... but I'm on thin ice here!

The film-making is exquisite. This is a modern day tale but it feels like (and references) Orwell's Paris of the 1930s, and the erratic protagonist is most definitely down and out. A troubled American writer who initially appears to be a on quest to reunite with his estranged French family, he stumbles chaotically through a washed-out, sparsely uninhabited urban landscape and seeks solace in the fictional forest he created for his first (and only) published novel.
Ethan Hawke establishes an entirely convincing character who seems caught in the roiling currents of circumstance. Rebuffed and bewildered, he drifts into territory which is both threatening and seductive. Desperate for a reunion with his beloved young daughter, he ends up in sordid situations which take a surreal turn into murder and mayhem. Finally his daughter's life is threatened and he must face up to the malign influence which has almost unravelled his existence. The ending is... ambiguous, but earlier scenes provide some important cues about what might be happening.
The supporting cast is wonderful; not just Kristen Scott-Thomas as the woman herself, but also the Polish waitress who befriends him, and the charmingly sinister Sezer who provides the writer with accommodation and employment - but at what cost?
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Format: DVD
I watched this straight after Polisse and I must say its more measured tone seemed initially rather flat; however there are quite a lot of striking images in this film and it is, at the very least, cinematic. Ethan Hawke is an excellent actor, almost unrecognisable from the newly released Before Midnight, and even his voice is completely different (it's also a role he plays largely in French). However the film is only mildly diverting, I would say; not much happens for much of the time, beyond the establishment of a highly strange set of circumstances in contemporary Paris, involving a not-quite-there American writer, his estranged wife and child, a slightly sinister boarding house he stays in, a Polish girl who works there, and a wealthy woman who lives in the 5th arrondissement (Kristin Scott Thomas). It's mainly about atmosphere, and it's not at all clear where it's going; then in the last 20 minutes things start to move fast - whether it really works is open to question, I would say, and it is presumably meant to remain somewhat shrouded in mystery anyway. It reminded me of a film called The Music of Chance from the early 90s with James Spader and Mandy Patinkin, but actually that was a better film with more shafts of humour and a deeper feeling. It also explores a similar area of meaning to Ozon's recent In the House, also with Scott Thomas, but again, Ozon's film has more wit and compels you more. For all its awareness of images I don't think The Woman In The Fifth is all that interesting to watch or a very good vehicle for the actors.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Polish-born screenwriter and director Pawel Pawlikowski`s fourth feature film which he wrote, is an adaptation of a novel from 2007 by American writer Douglas Kennedy. It was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 and is a France-Poland-UK co-production which was shot on locations in Paris, France and produced by producers Caroline Banjo and Carole Scotta. It tells the story about Tom Ricks, an American university professor and writer who goes to Paris, France where his ex-wife Nathalie and their adolescent daughter Chloe lives. He gets himself a room at a place run by a man named Mr. Sezer and tries to get in touch with his daughter, but due to a restraining order he has to find ways to see his daugher without being noticed by Nathalie. While searching for opportunities to rekindle with Chloe, Tom befriends a Polish woman and at a literary gathering he meets a woman named Margit who intrigues him.

Precisley and finely directed by Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated from the protagonist`s point of view, draws a moving portrayal of a struggling writer`s relationship with his young daughter, a friendly waitress and a mysterious widow. While notable for its atmospheric milieu depictions, fine production design by production designer Benoit Barouch, cinematography by Polish cinematographer Rysznard Lenczewski, editing by film editor David Charap and use of colors which empashizes it`s poignant atmosphere, this character-driven psychological thriller depicts an intriguing an internal study of character and contains a good score by British composer Max De Wardener.
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