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.