Mousy tax advisor William Faber (Luchini) receives a new client, Anna (Bonnaire), a beautiful, nervous woman who has mistaken him for a psychiatrist. But when she confides in him about her awful love life, he is both too embarrassed and intrigued to tell her the truth.
As French cinema, home of the auteur, struggles to live up to its former glories, Patrice Leconte remains one of its unsung heroes. But then, since his breakthrough with Monsieur Hire in 1989, he has been perhaps too prolific for the press to keep pace, following 1990's The Hairdresser's Husband with nearly a dozen films, releasing his wonderful low-key comic thriller, L'Homme Du Train just a year before this.
His trademark is economy small casts, natural light and real locations resulting in an intimacy that is only heightened by his insistence on operating the camera himself. Confidences Trop Intimes may not rank among his finest but, at its best, reflects the playfulness of Leconte's mind. Recalling the stories of Unbearable Lightness Of Being author Milan Kundera, it centres on the dangers of sexual fantasy, but in style has more in common with the morbid prurience of Hitchcock's Vertigo.
Sadly, this is where Leconte comes unstuck; though the leads conjure up a gripping chemistry, the film reneges on its promise of a climactic twist in favour of something less satisfactory. Still, this is the work of a master, beautifully framed with his meticulous eye and shot through with dark humour, drawing good performances from his seemingly mismatched but perfectly complementary leads.
Too dark to be a love story, too light to be a thriller and a touch too long to be either, this is dry, genre-twisting fun for admirers of Leconte's ingenuity.