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on 7 May 2017
A very quirky film but very enjoyable. I love Isabelle Huppert. She can perform at any level. Unexpected ending. I definitely recommend this film.
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on 3 February 2003
This is the film that got me into French cinema. I first saw it one late night on Channel 4 and was facinated by Bonnaire's ability to hold the screen with the minimum of facial expression and beautifully judged physicality. Having watched it many times since, Isabelle Huppert's post mistress becomes funnier and funnier in what is another example of her position at the very top of French acting. A superbly paced film, it has even persuaded me to try out Ruth Rendell's original novel - an author I had previously dismissed.
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on 9 October 2013
Many will find this film too slow-moving for their taste, but it is filled with excellent characterisations that one can relax and enjoy.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 23 November 2012
This is about Sophie (Sandrine Bonaire), who has applied to be the maid for Catherine Lelievre (Jacqueline Bisset) and her family. She has a son from a previous marriage and hubby Georges has a daughter from his. They live in a huge house on the outskirts of an end of the line town in France. She is given the job of looking after the whole family, as well as cleaning and cooking for them. They initially come across as considerate, offering to pay for driving lessons etc, but soon they just seem to treat her like a slave.

Then she meets the girl from the Post Office - Jeanne played by Isabel Huppert, who has a passionate dislike for the whole rotten family and starts to awaken the latent hate that is fermenting in Sophie. The other thing is they both have a past, and their pasts are achingly similar. Sophie also is covering up for the fact that she is illiterate and seems ashamed about it.

As the restrictions on her bring into focus the simmering resentment of certain members of the family, things are going to inevitably come to a head. This French film was made in 1995 and has been re released on DVD in the UK and I am rather glad that it has. This was one of those films where not a lot appears to happen, when in actual fact all the nuances of the mundane and ordinary are all building up a tapestry that will conclude with the final acts of the protagonists. It is just a brilliant film, where every single performance is so convincing without seeming to try and it had me absolutely transfixed for the duration, seriously I can not recommend highly enough.
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on 1 September 2015
Gloomy and slow-moving, this film takes on an inexorable quality. Because it becomes clear quite early on what's going to happen, and there are no surprises in the story arc, I was left with a feeling of 'well, so what?' at the end. But it's certainly well-acted .
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on 13 June 2001
Based on Ruth Rendell's novel A Judgment in Stone, Claude Chabrol's 1995 film is fascinating and disturbing. Illiterate Sandrine Bonnaire joins the French countryhouse of Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Pierre Cassell as a maid and along the way befriends postal clerk Isabelle Huppert. Chabrol's previous concerns have been about the bourgeoisie exploiting the working classes but Bisset and her family are nothing but kind to Bonnaire so their fate seems cruel and unwarranted. Bonnaire's Sophie is meant to be dim because she eats chocolates and watches TV indiscriminately. We're left to ponder Huppert's character, who is clearly unbalanced and who leads Bonnaire astray. Huppert is Chabrol's favourite actress and he rewards her with big closeups. Her Jeanne is funny, wears plaits and chews gum and is dangerously irrational. She has a great monologue in profile about the death of her daughter which she delivers in one take while she drives, knifing away sentiment yet still conveying the sadness in her Garbo-like mask face. It's interesting to see the still beautiful Bisset play a mother of teenage children and to hear her speak in French. You can sense her pleasure in this role and Chabrol let's us see her great legs. Chabrol is too subtle a director to manipulate us with the conventions of the thriller. His soundtrack is bare and the climactic violence leaves us shocked yet not unsurprised. I like the use of colour in the film - Bisset's yellow teacups, Huppert's salmon car, Bonnaire's blue jumper with daisies - and the way the final irony repeats the shock of the murder we have already witnessed.
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on 18 March 2016
Exactly what we required
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on 2 October 2015
Very good
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