Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


STORY OF WOMEN (Une affaire des femmes/1988). Director: Claude Chabrol.

Marie (Isabelle Huppert) is a young housewife with two beautiful children living in occupied France during WW2. She helps a neighbor whose husband doesn't want another child by giving her an abortion, then does the same thing for a number of women. She also rents out one of her rooms to an engaging prostitute who befriends her. She has an affair with a cocky young man, thereby enraging her husband. You know from the beginning that she comes to a bad end. This is based on the true story of the last woman to go to the guillotine in France. The film is absorbing and well-acted, but the nominal heroine, although mostly guilty of poor judgment more than anything else, is not that likable or sympathetic. Francois Cluzet, Nils Tavernier, and Marie Trintignant are the co-stars. The children are marvelous. While not badly done, Story of Women somehow misses the mark.

Verdict: Intriguing but unsatisfying. **1/2.

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