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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 30 March 2017
Psychological master piece. Another studio canal triumph. Terrific film and a great ending.
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The central performances in this film have a wonderful poise and the whole thing gleams with a Hitchcockian tension, perhaps a little like Rebecca in its focus on a large house with three, or possibly four principal players, depending on how you look at it in both cases. The lesbianism hinted at in that film is much more overtly piquant here, although it could hardly outdo the Mrs Danvers role ... I found the film quite gripping but inevitably a bit of a let-down at the end. But then I wonder whether the plot isn't a pretext for elegance and atmosphere of a highly cinematic kind, and that's really it, rather like certain films by Chabrol. Catherine Frot is memorable as the pianist, even if not particularly likeable. She evokes a complex response in her slightly imperious vulnerability in a way that is fascinating, and if the film were a bit larger in scope one might say it is really one of the outstanding screen performances of recent years. Her face is just so telling. The contrast with Deborah Francois, whose face is fixed in an enigmatic kind of focus and unnerving self-possession, could hardly be better exploited. In the end it's undone by the very thing that makes it work, namely its tension and arrow-like development, so typical of the thriller genre in general, and ultimately robbing it of a fuller human dimension.
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on 26 January 2017
I found the central premise of the film ridiculous and so wasn't really able to engage fully with it. If you are able to take it seriously you may well find it atmospheric and even gripping at times...
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on 28 April 2007
Young melanie fails a piano exam and never plays again. The woman who fails her is a well-known but neurotic pianist married to a sucessful lawyer. Ten years later Melanie insinuates herself into her husband's officeand then into her family home and is invited to turn pages for an important concert by her trio. The superficially shrinking violet uses her immense sexual power to destroy both family and trio. Apart from the two set trios, the music ic specially composed and is so skilfully integrated into the film that one is hardly conscious of it but together with the restrained acting of the principals it sustains the underlying tension and menace throughout. A subtle and intriguing film.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 September 2010
This French language film is about a revenge that is as cold as one could imagine short of some kind of physical violence. Melanie, the 10-year-old precocious child of a butcher and his wife, is set for an audition that will determine whether she gets into a prestigious musical academy. She is calm, cool, confident and very talented. All goes well until about halfway through when one of the students comes in to get the autograph of one of the judges (Ariane Fourchecourt played by Catherine Frot). Melanie is distracted and commits a finger-fault or two, and is not admitted. She leaves in tears but not before slamming the keyboard cover down on the student's fingers. Small revenge.

The backlighting as the opening credits roll emphasizes the butcher's trade: the cold, indifferent cutting of dead animal bodies. This is contrasted with the fine art of classical music. It is a beautiful setup for what is to come. My congratulations to director Denis Dercourt who orchestrated this petite cinematic masterwork. Everything is done with a minimum of explanation and certainly without any talking of the plot. We see and draw conclusions. The camera shows; the events reveal; and if we are astute we can guess what is to come. Maybe. But the plot plays out in unpredictable ways like a good thriller, and we are surprised by turns.

Some years pass and the preadolescent Melanie is now a young woman played by the bewitching Deborah Francois. We know she is the same person as the younger Melanie played by Julie Richalet because she affects the same severe hair style and the same cold, almost unfeeling countenance. By accident she goes to work as a nanny to a young boy whose mother is the very woman who signed the autograph and caused Melanie to misplay her piece. She is concert pianist herself and the rich wife of a successful lawyer. However she doesn't remember Melanie nor have any idea that her autograph-signing led to Melanie giving up playing the piano.

But enough of the plot. It is the kind of story that is best viewed cold without foreknowledge. Suffice it to say, big revenge to come. In addition to the denotative storyline there is a kind of satire on male-female relationships as usually depicted in film, on the world of the wealthy versus that of the masses, on the power of status and station versus that of raw animal beauty. As I watched Deborah Francois at work I kept thinking: she has the power even though Ariane has the money and the station.

Additionally there is a play on the idea of the smooth, nearly irresistible sociopath, usually in the form of a man on the make. Here that role belongs to a woman. What she does to Ariane is nonviolent, but we see in a couple of scenes just what sort of physical violence she is capable of. I should note that some of the plot is a bit unlikely, including the fact of the interruption, which would not have been allowed during a serious audition. Also the psychology of Ariane becoming nervous when she has to perform because of a traffic accident seems a bit off. Furthermore the boy is not likely to get a sore arm from playing the piano at too fast a tempo. Still these are quibbles when compared to the interesting psychology of the film.

Finally, I very much enjoyed Deborah Francois's performance and that of the other players. Her beauty captured the camera and my eyes. She intrigued and seemed entirely believable. If I were director Denis Dercourt I would make a follow up to this in which she again acts out her psychopathic nature, but maybe this time she is not so successful. However it would be hard to top the crisp, mesmerizing hour and 25 minutes of this film, one of the best psychological dramas I've seen in a while.

By the way, it is said that the popular expression, "revenge is a dish best served cold" really means not that the longer you wait to enact revenge the more you will enjoy it, but instead if you wait long enough you will realize the error of revenge and forgo it. I believe this latter interpretation is correct and wise.
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on 7 April 2007
Tight as a clenched fist ready to bloody someone's eye, intelligent, crystal clear in its intentions and actions, Denis Dercourt's terrific "The Page Turner" is wicked, perverse and anti-social in the very best sense. Like the best anti-heroes, Melanie Prouvost (a chilly, single-minded, Deborah Francois) knows what she wants, knows what/who her target is and knows how to achieve her goals. And in this case her target is the famous, though emotionally and professionally fragile classical pianist, Ariane Fouchecourt (sexy, sophisticated, sleek, tragic Catherine Frot) and by extension Ariane's family: husband Jean (Pascal Greggory) and her son, also a pianist, Laurent.
Melanie is out for total annihilation and her methods are as subtle as a Cobra ingesting defenseless small birds: there is no way that her prey can escape.
Director/Screenwriter Dercourt has fashioned a film that is tightly paced (a mere 134 minutes, not one ounce of fat here) and expertly acted but what is particularly impressive in its humanity and its knowing appreciation of the workings of the human mind is the reason, the impetus for Melanie's campaign against Ariane.
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on 1 May 2016
A great slow burning French thriller with two strong female leads at it's heart. Catherine Frot and Deborah Francois give outstanding performances and make this a movie not easily forgotten. Without wanting to spoil it, this is a revenge thriller revolving around Melanie (Deborah Francois), a girl with a passion for music whose early musical ambitions are thwarted sets her on the course to set the record straight. Arione (Catherine Frot) is the lonely but well to do housewife who employs Melanie as a nanny to her son and becomes page turner to the talented pianist. But all is not as it seems.

It is hard to feel completely sympathetic towards Melanie who sets out on such a calculated course of revenge and by the end of the movie I wan't totally rooting for her. If anything, it shows the emptiness of revenge. But it's certainly a stylish movie in the way only the French can. A dramatic yet subtle beautifully shot picture that is gripping to the end.
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on 18 April 2007
The Page Turner is a wonderful little film.

At just over 80 minutes, the plot is as simple or as complex as the viewer wants, depending on how much you read into it.

A very atmospheric fantastic revenge drama, with perfectly measured performances from the two lead actresses, and a pure pleasure to watch from start to finish.

I would recommend this film to anyone who has an aversion to subtitles, or anyone who is new to French cinema. The script is economical, even quite spartan in places and often relies on facial expressions/actions rather than words to convey the mood.

As a fan of French cinema, I greatly enjoyed it.
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on 8 June 2014
I really felt the edge in this movie, carried out by real great actors that know how to balance tension and body language, when giving real life to this psychological based story..
A girl is later in life taking a gruesome revenge on the woman that once destroyed her hopes to be a pianist.
The now mid aged piano teacher don`t recognize her, and let her into her home as page turner when preparing her own
little trio for a important concert. She`s a nervous person now, and the young girl starts breaking her down little
by little, mixed up with sexual behavior that gives her even more power over the lady that starts to respond.
A film to collect, since this kind of quality movies are seldom made.
A film to watch over again many times in life.
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on 2 August 2016
This film shows the consequences of a young girl's ambitions being blighted by a concert pianist adjudicating at the Conservatoire entrance exams. While a young girl is playing, the concert pianist turns to sign an autograph; the young girl loses concentration, fails to gain admission to the Conservatoire and abandons all aspiration to become a pianist herself. When adult, she obtains an internship with a lawyer's practice, where her boss is the husband of the concert pianist who had ruined her dreams. She subsequently becomes the page turner for the concert pianist and takes her revenge on the whole family. This is rather like a Hitchcock film. Certainly well worth watching.
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