french films > Before the Winter Chill (Avant l'Hiver)

Before the Winter Chill (Avant l'Hiver)

Avant l'Hiver

Before the Winter Chill (Avant l'Hiver)

Review score: * * * * *

cast: Daniel Auteuil, Kristin Scott Thomas, Leïla Bekhti, Richard Berry

year: 2013

colour: yes

certificate: -15

director: Philippe Claudel

runtime: 103

After their successful collaboration for I’ve Loved You for so Long, writer/director Philippe Claudel re-teams with Kristin Scott Thomas for a disconcertingly original and passionate drama with nods to the great Claude Chabrol’s thrillers. In a superb, poignant performance offering an unforgettable glimpse at the skeleton beneath the elegant skin of suburban gentility, Daniel Auteuil stars as Paul, a successful surgeon in the autumn of his life, becomes torn between a loving wife, Lucie (Kristin Scott Thomas), and a dangerous attraction for a troubled, mysterious young woman, Lou (Leila Bekhti). As Paul is drawn further to Lou (Leila Bekhti), a cafe waitress claiming to be one of his former patients, Lucie begins to suspect her husband of having an affair, but the truth proves to be far darker and complex than she expected.


COMMENTS:

14/05/2014 - writers_reign said :

Directing a successful film at the first attempt is not unlike writing a successful first novel; both successes are something of a two-edged sword because sooner or later - a notable exception is Harper Lee - you're going to have to offer your readers/viewers a second effort and it's not as easy to replicate let alone eclipse your debut as it is to fall on your face. Philippe Claudel managed a stunning debut with I've Loved You So Long and, perhaps wisely, turned to something completely different for his second feature but now he is back at his old stamping-ground with the same actress, Kristin Scott Thomas who was an integral part of the success of his first feature. Neither has he strayed too far in terms of plot; in the first film Scott Thomas was a doctor who'd been struck off the register and this time around she is married - happily initially - to a doctor, Daniel Auteuil, who has postponed his mid-life crisis until his early sixties. As in the first film there is lots more than the main story going on and Richard Berry as a psychiatrist friend - all three, Auteuil, Scott Thomas and Berry, had met on the same day 30 years earlier - weighs in with a solid, quietly brilliant performance. Eventually the plot strays into David Mamet territory and although it misses the quality of I've Loved You So Long by a whisker this is still a major film and really should be seen.

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