A new maturity is evident in Francois Ozons fourth feature, as he jettisons his normal quirkiness in order to concentrate on Charlotte Ramplings 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 its also gently optimistic in the way it coaxes Marie out of her grief. Thankfully, Jeans ghostly reappearances are also subtly handled. But its Ramplings self-protective return to life that makes this so movingly compelling.