The Page Turner

"OK"

The Page Turner Review


Drained bourgeois chill is so 2001. Denis Dercourt's debut thriller The Page Turner has the ethereal calm of a "Sounds of the Ocean" mix tape and it doesn't seem the least bit interested in disrupting that tone. With its demented psychosexual ramblings and robust flourishes of music, this would-be Chabrol rip-off (without the humor and panache) has a certain charm about it, but that doesn't constitute a successful exercise necessarily.

As a young butcher's daughter, Melanie had talent at the piano. Her father would stay up and listen to her play while saving up enough money to possibly send her off to an academy that deals in gifted pianists. Her audition gets sabotaged when one of the instructors, Ariane Fouchecourt (Catherine Frot), allows an autograph hound into the recital, breaking her concentration. She goes home, locks up her piano, and puts her little Mozart statue in the closet.

Skip to a decade or so later where Melanie (Déborah François) has nabbed a high-end internship at a prestigious law firm. The head of the firm is Monsieur Fouchecourt (the great Pascal Greggory), the husband of the woman who killed-off Melanie's young aspirations. When the Monsieur is in need of a housekeeper to help out with his wife's nervosa and his son's adolescent yearnings, Melanie jumps at the chance. Ariane takes to her immediately, hiring her as her page turner for an upcoming concert and effectively gives Melanie a control over her emotional state... which leads to disaster.

Neither a disaster nor a complete bore, The Page Turner has a placid nature to it that belies its intricate psychological ponderings. Not completely unlike Dominik Moll's Lemming, the mood and tone hold a striking clarity, but the timid mis-en-scene can't match the complexity of character and character psyche. The key difference is that Lemming unwraps and unravels like a Raymond Carver story being mulled over by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds; The Page Turner could be best described as a Mary Gaitskill throwaway with designs on Michael Haneke and Catherine Breillat.

That the story holds a lack of conflict that becomes fatally passé in the film's shaky fourth quarter. Ariane's obsessive attachment to Melanie has devious and fascinating possibilities but Dercourt barely scratches the surface of these tangled sexual yearnings. There is one obvious saving grace: Déborah François. Best known as the teen parent of the titular infant in the Dardenne brothers' L'Enfant, François gives a smashing, coiled performance that brings out the few slight thrills in Dercourt's script. As she holds the son's head under water or pierces the foot of a sexually-forward musician, she keeps her demeanor as glacially cool as the film's sterilized semblance. For a film that keeps everything, including bourgeois ethos, within the lines, she's the singular note that rings true.

Aka La Tourneuse de pages.



The Page Turner

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 9th August 2006

Distributed by: Tartan Films

Production compaines: Diaphana Films, Les Films à Un Dollar

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Denis Dercourt

Starring: as Ariane Fouchécourt, as Mélanie Prouvost, as Jean Fouchécourt, Christine Citti as Madame Prouvost, as Virginie, Jacques Bonnaffé as Monsieur Prouvost, as Laurent, Antoine Martynciow as Tristan Fouchécourt, André Marcon as M. Werker, Julie Richalet as Mélanie enfant, Martine Chevallier as Mme Onfray, Arièle Butaux as Présentatrice radio, Michèle Ernou as Monique, Danièle Douet as Femme autographe, Mark Reed as Mc Guerman (as Marc Reed), Jean Chrétien as Mathias, François Rosolato as Jury conservatoire, Alexis Monceaux as Jury conservatoire, Jacques Sotty as Jury conservatoire, Catherine Lebaigue as Jury conservatoire, Frédéric Moulin as Appariteur conservatoire, Émilie Reignier as Tourneuse remplaçante, Marion Sicre as Assistante M. Werker, Pomme Bourcart as Jeune fille autographe, Juliette Bône as Pianiste conservatoire, Caroline Mathieu as Avocate, Moussa Ag Assarid as Brancardier (as Moussa Ag-Assarid), Karim Adelis as Brancardier, Danièle Renaud as Infirmière, Julie Primot as Vendeuse, François Guillaume as Le médecin (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.