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Elle (French with English Subtitles)

Isabelle Huppert (in a mesmerizing performance) plays Michele, a highly driven leader of a gaming company that makes gory and erotic video games.  At the beginning of the movie, we see her in her home being sexually assaulted by an intruder, and how she handles it sets the stage begins to give clues about the kind of person she is. She doesn’t report it to the police; it is clear there is some history of why she won’t go there. The film explores the effects of that event as she tries to discover who her attacker is and, over its course, the depth and somewhat demented nature of her personality. The movie is really well crafted, and Huppert expertly navigates the complexity of her character.  The film also finds ways to weave humor into the storyline.  I was surprised that Huppert took the Golden Globe for Best Actress, given that the film is in French. But after some investigating, I discovered that the director is the same one who directed Robocop and Total Recall in the Huppert’s performance is huge and is definitely award-worthy. Big thumbs up for an excellent performance by Huppert and for a movie that had an unexpected twist at the end – both in terms of the direction of the story and how my feelings about the assailant had shifted subtly over the course of the film. Note: There are few scenes of sexual assault/violence that may be much for some.

About Gary Burkholder

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