The story of Marion and Gilles' relationship told through five key episodes which are shown in reverse chronological order.
Only Ingmar Bergman and Eric Rohmer have consistently written better roles for women than François Ozon and it’s apt that they’re stylistically referenced in this astute study of marital manners.
Although he employs the gimmick of working backwards in five episodes from Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Stéphane Freiss’ divorce to their first meeting, Ozon tells his tale with a straightforward, sympathetic seriousness that perfectly suits the couple’s small-scale, yet intensely personal, tragedy.
As the victim who proves herself capable of being a vixen, Bruni-Tedeschi feels more rounded than Freiss’ ensnared husband. Consequently, her performance holds things together, allowing Ozon to explore everyday emotions with poignancy, while not making a drama out of each crisis.
Another winner from Ozon, one of the finest French directors working today. Structurally, this recalls Irreversible, but with none of that movie's nasty aftertaste.
Reviewed by David Parkinson