9 December 2010 | runamokprods
Fascinating, well acted character study and mystery
Wonderfully acted by Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant, and beautifully shot.
A man re-emerges 10 years after being declared dead in the Napoleonic wars. He wants something, but even HE doesn't seem sure what – his money his wife kept, and brought to her new marriage? Revenge on her for forgetting him? To win her back?
Meanwhile, her own lawyer also takes on Chabert's side of the case, trying to broker a compromise, before word leaks out and all involved are ruined in scandal. (Fabrice Luchini is great as the lawyer who's motives are always a little mysterious).
An interesting, subtle study of what's really of value in life.
My only complaint is that some of the Machiavellian machinations are a little obviously played by both Ardant's character and her greedy, wormy new husband, who values a peerage over marriage, love or family. Somehow that artifice makes the film a bit less emotionally powerful than it might be. But I'd certainly see it again.