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

Thursday, October 20, 2011


THE STORY OF ADELE H. (1975). Director: Francois Truffaut.

Based on true events in the life of Adele Hugo, daughter of Victor Hugo, this absorbing movie shows how the young Adele (Isabelle Adjani) follows a man with whom she had a fling, Lt. Albert Pinson (Bruce Robinson), to Nova Scotia where he has been stationed. The trouble is that Pinson no longer has any feelings for Adele, which the emotionally disturbed woman at first refuses to acknowledge and then simply disregards altogether. Pinson's rejection only seems to exacerbate and hasten the mental instability that was already lurking inside Adele's sensitive mind, and she descends into a pathetic and desperate state. Adjani gives an adept, restrained performance that doesn't clue us in to her incipient dementia too quickly, and Robinson as the object of her obsession, Sylvia Marriott as a sympathetic landlady, Joseph Blatchley as a bookstore owner, and Ivry Gitlis as an alleged hypnotist are all excellent support. The film follows the basic facts pretty closely. Other films of romantic obsession and tragedy include Letter from an Unknown Woman and A Summer Story.

Verdict: One of the over-rated Truffaut's better movies. ***1/2.

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