Stonemason (Lindon) lives with his wife and school-age son, a life of untroubled serenity in a small French town. Then he meets his son's teacher, Mademoiselle Chambon (Kiberlain), and everything is turned upside down.
An imprudent homage to Brief Encounter undermines this poignant adaptation of Eric Holder’s novel about the suppressed passion between a married mason and his son’s teacher. Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain excel as the conflicted provincials, as this delicate drama explores how deep emotions can be conveyed by more than mere physicality. Stéphane Brizé makes fine use of Antoine Héberlé's camera as it haunts the space between Kiberlain and Lindon to capture the confused signals in their gestures, expressions and silences. Yet the beautifully acted railway station finale still feels like an onrush of sentiment after so much exemplary discretion.
A subtle and sensual character study.
Reviewed by David Parkinson