The Woman In The Fifth Review

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The story of an American writer (Ethan Hawke) who leaves for Paris with the intention of reconnecting with his estranged family. When his ex-wife turns him away, he ends up involved with a Parisian crime circle and enters into an affair with femme fatale Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas).


Pawel Pawlikowski's first film since 2004’s My Summer Of Love is a step up in terms of ambition, following Ethan Hawke’s disgraced American author as he travels to Paris in an attempt to build bridges with his estranged wife and daughter. So his life unravels as he finds himself tied up with a ghoulish gang of banlieue hoods (Amélie this is not) and, more erotically, Kristin Scott Thomas’ femme fatale and limpid Polish waitress Joanna Kulig. Hampered by an at times overtly ‘European arthouse’ feel, this is nonetheless an unsettling meditation that plays with ideas of memory, grief, mental illness and even the supernatural, with Hawke, Kulig and Scott Thomas on affecting form.

An ambitious thriller from Pawlikowski assisted by excellent performances from Hawke, Kulig and Scott Thomas.