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Highly Strung 2009

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3.5 out of 5 stars (20) IMDb 5.7/10
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French drama tracking the destructive relationship between two young women, Emma (Isild Le Besco) and Marie (Judith Davis). When the solitary and troubled Emma lets a room in her flat out to her childhood friend, classical piano student Marie, an intense bond develops between the two that soon spills over into obsession. A power struggle ensues as Marie vacillates between her desire for Emma and the urge to escape from her. When this draining relationship starts to affect her piano recitals, Marie decides to put an end to it - but Emma refuses to give her up without a fight.

Starring:
Johan Libereau, Lucie Bourdeu
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 36 minutes
Starring Johan Libereau, Lucie Bourdeu, Fabienne Babe, Julien Pabion, Johan Libéreau, Marc Chapiteau, Ondine Desfosses, Judith Davis, Cécile Laloy
Director Sophie Laloy
Genres Drama
Studio PECCADILLO PICTURES
Rental release 29 March 2010
Main languages French
Subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 13 May 2012
Format: DVD
Highly Strung gets a very good sense of the feelings of confusion that can arise in one's early 20s, particularly where questions of sexuality are unresolved. It is quite a painful film and the behaviour of the characters is sometimes unsympathetic, but Isild Le Besco, whose character could easily alienate us, does a very good job of making us understand why she is like she is. This adds to the complexity of the film, which also has quite an erotic charge and is quite frank. I wasn't watching it for this but I think it is good to see lesbian sexuality shown in this way (ie glamorous) where it is very much aimed at women and is a reflection of their feelings rather than as a male fantasy in the Basic Instinct mould. Judith Davis is also very good, and I found both girls very convincing. It was also nice to see Johan Libereau, who was so good in Techine's The Witnesses - it is a bit ironic that we get to see him in a full-frontal nude shot (more than a glimpse too!) where his gay role didn't contain this! All three of them are beautiful, and Sophie Laloy has a way of filming her female characters that is very lovely, with an emphasis on feminine accoutrements and floral dresses with a slightly flouncy or intricate look; when Marie is with her sisters the effect reminded me very much of Degas' groups of dancers. I loved the music in the film too - mainly piano pieces played by Brigitte Engerer, which is what drew me to the film initially, she is such a great pianist. There is also an inspired scene set against a Franck organ chorale, which Emma responds to most touchingly, as she does to Marie's playing, even if she does become embarrassingly combative with anyone who thinks differently ...Read more ›
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By A.S. on 21 July 2010
Format: DVD
Highly Strung starts out as the story of Marie's moving to a prestigious school in beautiful Lyon to train to become a concert pianist. She and her childhood friend, Emma, move in together, and soon the story veers from the trials and tribulations of a young girl's desire to become a good pianist, and instead focuses on the turbulent relationship between her and the (at times) rather dominating Emma. The cinematography is beautiful, and the music is, of course, classical and adds as a fantastic background for the mounting tension that is caused by Marie's new found sexual freedom and the growing possessiveness of Emma.

Though not a lesbian myself, I identified with the confusion and the initial fear that Marie feels as she moves to university, as I'm sure many others will. The quintessential 'French'ness of the film was, per usual, laden with emotional moments and the grappling of difficult issues whilst remaining ever so sensual, which I found to work really well with the potentially overly-bleak plot. It was seductive and at times, bordering on voyeuristic in the best possible way due to how truly real it feels.

Overall, I give this a 5/5, and recommend it for anyone looking for a film with depth and a beautifully tragic perspective on love and its consequences.
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Nice little movie. Okay a bit predictable, but the acting is great and the film moves along at a nice pace. The music is used to great effect.
Recommended for a relaxing, not too stressful, but still compelling movie. Not great, but worth a watch. Enjoyable, thought provoking.
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Format: DVD
i thought this was really strong, it was like Single White female, but set in France and she's a pianist.

It was engrossing, dramatic and rather sexy, i was gripped throughout. It's a clever story and not at all what i expected - it makes you think one thing and surprises you with another. LOVED IT!!!!
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I expected this to be single white female french style but it is much more. i am a fan of Isild Le Besco and she is excellent as the creepy flatmate to the innocent Edith Scob. Well acted ,with a hint of menace and sexual obsession. Great film.
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Well, as a lesbian I am frequently disappointed by 'lesbian films' and this is no exception. It is a modern French version of "The Well of Loneliness" and equally depressing.
Predatory, creepy, screwed up young woman meets confused younger woman who doesn't know what she wants but is basically heterosexual. I can do without this version of "Lesbian World" and would rather put my eyes out with sticks than watch it again. Wonder what my local charity shop will make my latest donation??!!!
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An ok film if taken as an art piece rather than a dedicated storyline but at times it seems that there is no real point to some of the scenes and that the film isnt really progressing anywhere at all. An intriguing story which makes some (deliberately?) uncomfortable points but not necesarily worth the time to watch.
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This film seems to me to be a thinly veiled attempt to tar lesbians with the same brush, i.e. as psychotic predators pursuing the innocent (and basically straight) young. It, and others like it, have put me off French 'lesbian'-themed films. The Killing of Sister George was a film shot in a time of opprobrium and worse for sexual minorities. It was ghastly enough, but at least it had the excuse of being bound to a time which condemned lesbians. What excuse does Highly Strung have? None that I can think of, unless you bring in virulent lesbophobia as a guiding principle. And what merits? Very few, if any.

A toxic brew which doesn't even deserve a one-star rating.
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