A Girl Cut In Two

"Good"

A Girl Cut In Two Review


Quite a good portion of Claude Chabrol's tasty cocktail of romance and jealousy, A Girl Cut in Two, has gone by before you realize that, in essence, nothing much of consequence has happened. This is not a bad thing, and is more a testament to Chabrol's talent behind the camera that he's able to keep his film engaging well past the point that it should have any real right to be. It gives the film a certain drifting quality, even if one knows that something more momentous is waiting in the wings.

Chabrol, who also co-wrote the script with Cécile Maistre, based his story in some measure upon the sensational case of famous architect Stanford White's murder at Madison Square Garden's rooftop theater in 1906. A classic "murder of the century" case, the White murder had a plethora of salacious details for titillation, a number of which Chabrol cannily appropriates for his own scenario. Set in the present day in Lyon, A Girl Cut in Two seems at first like another portrait of an ennui-cloaked artiste, whose fame and fortune no longer excites him. Charles Saint-Denis (François Berléand, excellent in his understatement here just as he was in Tell No One) is an aging novelist of incomparable fame living the perfect life. He lives on a beautiful estate, is feted for his work almost nonstop, has a wife who doesn't appear to notice or care about his habitual flirting, and the money to do essentially whatever he wants. Being a famous novelist on the prowl, it doesn't take long for Saint-Denis to zero in on one of Lyon's most attractive single females, the quite young and innocently beautiful Gabrielle Deneige (Ludivine Sagnier).

While Deneige, who lives at home with her eminently sensible and disapproving mother, is falling desperately in love with the much older Saint-Denis (who's something of an arrogant buffoon, in addition to being a first-degree manipulator of the impressionable young), she's also being pursued by a man her own age. Looking like a Gallic Jude Law who's been on a months-long bender, Paul Gaudens (Benoît Magimel, marvelously dissolute) is the scion of a local pharmaceutical fortune, as bored as he is wealthy. A snake-like avatar of louche misbehavior, Gaudens is all pout and preen, lazing about in tight-fitting velvet coats and tearing up the town in his zippy sports car when he's not scheming how to make Deneige his.

In no particular hurry to move his story to its conclusion, Chabrol takes his time limning the attractions and manias in this eminently tasteful little love triangle, and provides plenty of entertainment along the way. Sagnier's beauty is played to maximum effect (she looks here like a fresh-faced and younger Penelope Ann Miller), as is her oddly innocent inexperience. When Saint-Denis decides to educate her in the darker mysteries of desire (a point at which the film skirts and narrowly avoids ludicrousness), she's emotively torn between her desire for love and an approving father figure, and left emotionally broken between the two. Having Gaudens (who's as used to getting what he wants as is Saint-Denis) leap impetuously into this fragile relationship has an affectingly bull-in-the-china-shop effect.

Once Chabrol starts trying to tie his story together, however, the briefly intoxicating mist of desire, jealousy, and rampant wealth dissipates quite quickly. Although this was most likely the desired effect, blowing away the naïve attitudes held by his characters and showing them the results of their actions, it doesn't necessarily make for a coherent or affecting story. Although A Girl Cut in Two does come with an initially heady and alcoholic kick, that proves to be a fleeting impression. Once viewers are done with Chabrol's cannily crafted but fleeting film, its effects are quite easily tossed off; no worries about hangovers here.

Aka La Fille coupée en deux, A Girl Cut in Half.

That'd be the top half.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Alic%C3%A9l%C3%A9o, Integral Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Gabrielle Deneige, as Paul Gaudens, as Charles Saint-Denis, as Capucine Jamet, as Marie Deneige, Valeria Cavalli as Dona Saint-Denis, as Maître Lorbach, Jean-Marie Winling as Gérard Briançon, Didier Bénureau as Philippe Le Riou, Caroline Sihol as Geneviève Gaudens, Etienne Chicot as Denis Deneige

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.