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Under The Sand Review

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★★★★

A new maturity is evident in Francois Ozon’s fourth feature, as he jettisons his normal quirkiness in order to concentrate on Charlotte Rampling’s exquisitely affecting portrayal of intense bereavement.

After 25 years of marriage, Marie (Rampling) is still deeply in love with her husband, Jean (Cremer). So, when he vanishes, she is plunged into an inner despair that is so well masked by her serene exterior that her new suitor, Vincent (Nolot), knows nothing of her past.

With its measured pacing and spare use of dialogue, this is an authentic study of loyalty and loss. Yet it’s also gently optimistic in the way it coaxes Marie out of her grief. Thankfully, Jean’s ghostly reappearances are also subtly handled. But it’s Rampling’s self-protective return to life that makes this so movingly compelling.