Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    SPOILER AHEAD.

    The opening shot is of a female cat on heat, miaowing around the apartment floor of Diane(Brigitte Rouan) and her husband Phillipe (Patrick Chesnais. Puss appears again at the end, still on heat, her biological desire unfulfilled. Meantime Diane a book editor in her 40s, with a nice husband and two teen-age children, has an affair with dark and handsome Emilio (Boris Terral), an engineer engaged in international aid projects. Emilio happens to be sharing an apartment with Francisco (Nils Tavernier), an author whose his next novel Diane is trying to coax out of him. Emilio is in his twenties but likes older women. Phillipe is preoccupied with the defence of an elderly woman who has murdered her husband with a carving fork after 43 years of abuse.

    I found this movie slow-moving; despite some neat cutting from one scene to another it seemed longer than its 95 minutes. There were one or two sexy bits, but nothing really to explain how Emilio the young stud feels apart from a casual remarks he makes to a friend ("four f*cks and she thinks I'm her future"). The inevitable break-up comes about an hour into the film and Diane does not take it well - in fact she nearly goes around the twist. Yet a trip to Corfu with her favourite author and a jump off Saffo's cliff (isn't that Lesbos?) restores her sanity. The last half-hour is pretty tedious.

    I liked the humour in what was otherwise a fairly sorry tale and some of the minor characters had some charm eg Diane's pompous twit of a boss and Francois the author who seemed to be writing novels quite removed from his life experience ("virgin writes searing romance"). The trouble with Diane is, that while we understand why she has done what she has, and why she finds the break-up so hard, it is somehow difficult to feel sorry for her. It's hard to put a finger on why. Perhaps it's the self-obsession, the narcissism she displays. Perhaps the point is that anyone can get caught by an affair, but we don't all spend as much time looking into a mirror as Diane does. Anyway the cat can't help it, but she can.

    We never get to find out what happens in the trial of the carving fork wife - all we see is Phillipe practising a jury speech which suggests she doesn't have much chance of an acquittal. I think we need closure on that one too, to round off the story. Do they all live happily ever after? At the end, I didn't really care. Maybe you have to be female (and smarter than the cat) to understand.