Login

La Separation Review

Image for La Separation

A long term couple (Huppert and Auteil) with an 18 month-old baby are coming to the end of their love for each other. They must decide whether things can be mended.

★★★★★

This drab showcase for the talented Gallic duo of Auteuil and Huppert has the high-powered thesps playing a long-term couple on the verge of relationship self-destruction. Happy-clappy it isn't.

Despite sharing a chic Parisian apartment and an 18-month-old son, partners Anne (Huppert) and Pierre (Auteuil) have little left in common. When a distracted Anne lets slip that she has fallen in love with another man, Pierre is, on the surface, far from devastated, chivalrously offering to take a back seat while Anne works through her quandary with some horizontal athletics. But as the affair rumbles on and the gulf between them widens, so indifference gives way to jealousy. The very real prospect of splitting up and losing custody of his child unleashes Pierre's bottled up anger and his violent reactions seem destined to blow the relationship apart forever.

Old with typical French subtlety, where a long meaningful look is worth a ream of dialogue, this is very much performance driven. But even consummate character actors Huppert and Auteuil need something more to go on than an intense script cobbled together by Dan Franck and director Vincent (from Franck's best-selling novel). The pair are given little room to manoeuvre and it's hard to care for either as the disintegration plods to its inevitable conclusion, only briefly illuminated by Auteuil's gallows humour.

Overcooked and overplayed, this is a short movie that seems to trudge on for an eternity, and has one wishing the couple would split up as quickly as possible.

More from Empire