I still love you, je ne sais pas pourqoi
Classic Elsternwick - Saturday 21 January 2017, 4:30pm
Running time: 130m
Country: France, Germany, Belgium
Release date: 27/10/16
Rating: 7.5/10 (ME 3.5/5, DP 4/5)
Michèle (Isabelle Huppert) is the victim of a violent sexual assault who gets back to business as head of a video game company without telling anyone of her ordeal. Meanwhile, there’s the saga of her son’s pregnant girlfriend, her relationship with her best friend and her husband, an ex husband who’s moved on to someone else, an elderly mother and her younger boyfriend and the Catholics who’ve moved in across the street. But there’s also the ghost of her past and her father’s atrocities that continue to haunt her.
If you think Elle (’she’ or ‘her’) sounds like a confusing and complex story, the answer is oui. Paul Verhoeven, the director behind Basic Instinct, Total Recall and Showgirls, has created an intense, disturbing and confronting thriller with more layers than a pain-au-chocolat. It’s VERY violent with nothing left to the imagination, and the sexual violence is especially uncomfortable, but it’s also an important plot element particularly when the threads of the distant back story begin to emerge. There’s a large cast of characters each connected to Michèle, and it takes time to work out the relationships, but at 130 minutes there’s more than enough time to figure it all out. The performances by the large ensemble cast are superb, but it’s Isabelle Huppert that brings fear, joy, jealousy, vulnerability and desperation to a character that is truly original. The score just adds to the drama and the cinematography and close shots contribute to the intimacy of the experience.
Elle is not an easy film to watch, and some of the plot twists verge on the bizarre. It’ll have you scratching your head and asking pourquoi, but the originality and intensity will linger with you long after the closing credits end.
89th Academy Awards
74th Golden Globe Awards
6th AACTA International Awards