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Nathalie Review

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A middle-aged obstetrician discovers her husband's infidelity and hires a nightclub hostess to lure him into an affair in order to exact her revenge. However, she soon loses control…

★★★★★

There's nothing worse than having to review a film with a twist - even if it's an obvious one - as you can't give away the secret because it's pivotal to the picture. Suffice to say, Anne Fontaine's follow-up to How I Killed My Father has a seismic revelation that will be apparent to anyone paying attention. Had she been writing a novel, the deception might have been easier to conceal. But the very structure of this self-consciously clever drama undermines the conceit.

There will be those, however, who will be vexed by the supercilious attitude of bourgeois ice maiden Fanny Ardant to Emmanuelle Beart's sultry working girl, as she betrays both her sex and profession in treating her like a disposable commodity in order to humiliate the aberrant Depardieu.

The story's alternately seedy and respectable milieux are effectively established, and Michael Nyman's astute score enhances the atmospheric interludes between the womens' emotionally charged assignations. But a few episodes involving Ardant's mother and a wine waiter ring hollow and reinforce unfavourable comparisons with Patrice Leconte's similarly themed Confidences Trop Intimes.

An intriguing idea fails to rise in this calculated study of sexual manners. The performances are better than the material deserves, but, even so, there's often no friction between the female leads.

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