Le Refuge Review

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A couple in love suffer from their involvement with drugs, when Louis dies and Mousse is left pregnant, forced to move away.


A hot rising star of French cinema at the turn of the new century, François Ozon’s (Swimming Pool, 8 Women) stock has dropped dramatically in recent years, and this disappointing, uneventful two-hander suggests he is treading water. It begins with two junkies, Mousse and Louie (Isabelle Carré and Melvil Poupaud), on a drug binge that only one will survive. Finding she is pregnant, Mousse is encouraged by Louis’ family to have an abortion, but instead she takes off to the seaside, where she is joined by her late lover’s handsome, gay brother (Louis-Ronan Choisy). Their strange, sexually charged friendship results in some wonderful onscreen chemistry, but the story is slight and even prosaic, in the way French odd-couple dramas tend to be. As usual, though, Ozon’s soundtrack choices are great.

Lyrical in style and presentation, this drama alludes to serious issues but does not address them. Enjoyable stylistically, but not substantiated beyond glossy advertisement.