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8 Women Review

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Eight female family members reunite in a remote mansion in the snowy countryside of 1950s France. But what should in fact be a glamorous, social affair becomes a dramatic cutthroat murder mystery as the women discover their beloved patriarch has been killed, and they are the suspects.

★★★★

The enfant terrible of French cinema, François Ozon’s brave foray into the mind of not one, but eight, women is a gloriously-executed examination of what lies beneath the manicured façade of the female species.

From the outset, the film plays like Agatha Christie meets Douglas Sirk, and is shot like a sumptuous, 1950s, Technicolor melodrama. However, with content exquisitely linked to form, all is not as it seems; as the plot thickens, the veneer cracks and the genre subtly twists its way to kitsch theatricality.

Meanwhile, the women spiral to reveal unexpected intentions — sexual, murderous, dishonest, perverse.

At first cringeworthy, the sight of Catherine Deneuve clicking her heels to a tune is soon delightful. From the twitchy recluse Huppert, to the raunchy Béart, every one of this star-led cast has a chance to spin and sing her yarn to beguiling effect.

Light-hearted and droll — even if you think you don’t like ‘French’ films, you’ll adore this one.

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