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Summer Things Review

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A riche bitch queens it over her less fortunate friends, while unaware that husband Bertrand is sleeping with his transsexual secretary.

★★★★

Adapted from a novel by Joseph Connolly, this is a supremely assured blend of Gallic farce and social critique. The entire ensemble is exemplary, with Charlotte Rampling deliciously imperious as the riche bitch queening it over her less fortunate friends, while unaware that husband Bertrand (Jacques Dutronc) is sleeping with his transsexual secretary.

Even more impressive is Véronique (Karin Viard)'s shift from shrewish envy to fragile insecurity as her bond with Julie (Clotilde Courau)'s neglected baby evokes painful memories of her own domestic tragedy.

Writer-director Michel Blanc revels in the role of Lulu (Carole Bouquet)'s pathologically jealous husband, whose imperfections (like those of several other characters) become part of his appeal. The plot strands are tied too neatly at the end, but Blanc's achievement is to have retained hold of them with so light a touch throughout.

A perfect cast ensemble combined with a superb, subtly handled plot.