Elles

Elles

Anne, a well-off, Paris-based mother of two and investigative journalist for ELLE, is writing an article about student prostitution. Her meetings with two fiercely independent young women, Alicja and Charlotte, are profound and unsettling, moving her to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex. 2.3 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
Elles

Omniscore:

Certificate 18
Genre Drama
Director Malgorzata Szumowska
Cast Anaïs Demoustier, Joanna Kulig, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Krystyna Janda, Andrzej Chyra Juliette Binoche
Studio Artificial Eye
Release Date April 2012
Running Time 96 mins
 

Anne, a well-off, Paris-based mother of two and investigative journalist for ELLE, is writing an article about student prostitution. Her meetings with two fiercely independent young women, Alicja and Charlotte, are profound and unsettling, moving her to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex.

Reviews

Empire Magazine

David Hughes

Szumowska’s insistence on staging the girls’ revelations as tastefully lit and largely consequence-free sex scenes serves to undermine her cause — always assuming she set out to make an intellectually exploratory, 21st century Belle De Jour, not an art-house exploitation film.

17/04/2012

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The Times

Kate Muir

Not short of French pretension or creepy voyeurism. In one scene, however, Binoche gets delightfully drunk with a Polish girl and some noodles.

20/04/2012

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Total Film

Philip Kemp

Binoche is, as always, superb, but Malgorzata Szumowska’s film won’t tell you much about the oldest profession that you didn’t already know.

09/04/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

The film avoids any kind of moralistic stand. Instead, it goes in for a kind of moral-equivalency argument, with its suggestion that there’s not a lot of difference between the good bourgeois housewife Anne and her “bad” girl hookers. They service men and Anne services men — her husband and sons ... Yet it goes a step further — and off the rails into a silly romanticism — by ­suggesting that these women can teach Anne how to lighten up, let her hair down and have a little fun.

22/04/2012

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Screen

Lee Marshall

There are compensations in a film that lets its message dominate its drama: the two part-time hookers are well-written and well-acted, and there’s some intelligently entertaining questioning of the journalist’s right to intrude in other people’s lives the name of truth. But in the end Elles lacks the moral and emotional finesse of Stranger, Szumowska’s previous film.

10/02/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

Malgoska Szumowska’s film, which feels very long indeed, has its narrative arranged thematically rather than chronologically, and chops between Anna’s interviews with the girls and a seemingly endless sequence in which she prepares a gourmet dinner for her husband’s boss. The effect is frequently and unintentionally hilarious: after one typically greasy sequence of the girls servicing their clients, soundtracked by the Allegretto from Beethoven’s Seventh (what else?), we cut to Binoche in her designer kitchen, lasciviously fondling a scallop.

19/04/2012

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Time Out

Dave Calhoun

The main problem is not the film’s politics, which are open and provocative if a little heavy-handed and obvious, but its perspective. It feels like a portrait of a fleeting bourgeois crisis, something Binoche performs well but which feels skin deep when the film is flirting with more fleshy issues.

18/04/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Jonathan Rommey

Perhaps you can see where Szumowska is going with this – the lot of the bourgeois married woman is already akin to prostitution. Bon, ça va, point taken – but it's made with precious little subtlety, partly because of Binoche's abrasive performance. Her Anne is in a right fluster throughout, whether agonising over her article or trying to shut a fridge door. I'm not sure about her as a hack, either: she only interviews two women, gets hot under the collar as soon as Alicja pours the vodka, and spends the next day masturbating on the bathroom floor. OK, deadline pressure affects us all in strange ways, but still.

22/04/2012

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The Financial Times

Antonia Quirke

Szumowska’s film has ruffled feathers by suggesting women can both enter and emerge from this kind of life relatively unscathed, but in a week when even the unhysterical “hey it was only a job” author of Belle du Jour admitted testily to having been raped as a young woman it’s clear that no female could watch this film without on some level feeling alone and frightened.

19/04/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

An interesting but massively preposterous and supercilious film, saucer-eyed on the subject of bought sex and students taking high-end escort work.

19/04/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

Szumowska’s dubious film scorns men for their casual acceptance of the idea that women should always be on hand to satisfy their sexual peccadilloes, yet she undercuts her point by exploiting the willingness of actresses Anaïs Demoustier and Joanna Kulig to bare all as their characters engage in explicit, beautifully shot, largely consequence-free sexual encounters with handsome older men in high-end hotel rooms.

19/04/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

This smug Franco-Polish co-production stars Juliette Binoche at her most self-regarding...

22/04/2012

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