About this movie
Beginning in 1958 and covering decades, Catherine Corsini’s smart, assertive adaptation of controversial French author Christine Angot’s autobiographical bestseller traces the relationship between lower-middle-class Rachel (Virginie Efira, a revelation) and upper-class intellectual Philippe (Niels Schneider) from its passionate beginnings through the birth of a child (played by four different actresses over the decades) and into areas of dysfunction both disturbing and all-too-believable. As Rachel raises her child alone and endures an on-again, off-again relationship with the haughty Philippe—who refuses to give his name to their daughter—Corsini does the near impossible: she carves out a trenchant analysis of women’s roles in modern French society and a critique of male attitudes while making a film that never fails to engross. For this, she can thank Efira, who is never less than marvellous.
‘A superior and very accessible melodrama… This is the most accomplished and ambitious film to date from a director who has frequently explored female themes from a committed gender-politics perspective, but also employing an approachable, mainstream art-house aesthetic… The acting is terrific. Lead Efira… shows herself more than capable of a heavyweight dramatic role, subtly maturing from romantic 20s to careworn middle age.’—Jonathan Romney, Screen