Clean Review

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Emily Wang struggles with a troubled past and the death of her junkie partner, Lee, to try and become a real mother to her son, presently residing Lee’s parents.


French writer-director Olivier Assayas provides a showcase for ex-wife Maggie Cheung in this — she acts! she sings! she speaks three languages! — but fails to raise her character’s dilemma above the level of a banal TV drama, despite the promise of a scenario built around the junkie widow of an overdosed ’80s rocker.

Only a sympathetic, restrained turn from Nick Nolte as her forgiving father-in-law brings the film’s emotions in from the wilderness. With Béatrice Dalle also in the cast, there’s no denying the fact that some very cool people are involved. But when the script talks of “that article in Q” or “that cover of Mojo”, while throwing in a silent cameo by Tricky, the result is a namedropping clang rather than a credibility chime. On the back of Demonlover, this is further proof that Assayas has lost his touch.

Bit of a mediocre drama from writer-director Assayas despite some good turns, not least from Nick Nolte and Beatrice Dalle.