22 March 2009

La Demoiselle d'honneur / The Bridesmaid (2004) : A Review

During Sophie Tardieu's (Solène Bouton) wedding, her brother Philippe (Benoît Magimel) becomes besotted with one of her bridesmaids, the exotic Senta (Laura Smet). The two could not be more different: Phillipe is a salesman for a builder and lives in small house with his mother and sisters, while Senta is an unemployed actor who slums in the basement of her aunt's dilapidated mansion. As Phillipe and Senta fall deeper and deeper in love, she proposes that they each murder a person to prove their love to each other.

Writer-director Claude Chabrol and writer Pierre Leccia have adapted a Ruth Rendell novel of the same title. One theme they focus on is how different people perceive and use lies; Phillipe does not hesitate to lie to avoid awkward situations and to get what he wants. When he is confronted by Senta's seemingly far-fetched stories, he assumes that she is making them up until, of course, it is too late. The writers flesh out Phillipe's family, his mother (Aurore Clement) who has been quietly dumped by her wealthy boyfriend and his younger sister Patricia (Anna Mihalcea) who is on the verge of being a delinquent, to reinforce his view of the world.

The film has a cool, slightly detached feeling, which suits the material. I found the climax somewhat awkward and rushed, and the denouement cut short. The soundtrack by Matthieu Chabrol is also sometimes annoying.

French language with English subtitles.

3 out of 5 stars.
21 March 2009
Kam-Hung Soh