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Leaving Review

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When middle-class mother Suzanne (Scott Thomas) begins a fiery affair with the man she's hired to build her studio, the fallout becomes all-consuming.

★★★★★

Catherine Corsini's respectable middle-class family riven by the wife’s (Kristin Scott Thomas) coup de foudre for a smouldering Spanish handyman (Sergi López) has much to recommend it, not least a typically nuanced performance from Scott Thomas and superior turns from the supporting cast. Corsini effectively creates a sultry, increasingly fetid atmosphere as relationships fracture and the issue of personal ethics becomes ever more grey, even as the stunning landscapes brim with almost abrasive colour and vitality.

Yet while such moral relativism makes for a more challenging piece, it also creates a sense of detachment that makes it hard to stomach or engage with the almost aggressively self-centred behaviour on display. It’s also a slight, familiar tale — if with a smattering of unexpected twists — the piece playing more like an extended vignette than a full feature.

A vital, if slight, study of selfishness and fractured relationships, Leaving is illuminated by the odd, off-balancing twist.

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