The New Girlfriend
Saturday 11th October, 8.30pm – Odeon West End, Screen 2
Sunday 12th October, 11.30am – Odeon West End, Screen 2
Monday 13th October, 6.15pm – Ciné Lumière
Claire (Anais Demoustier) reads a speech at the front of the church next to the coffin of her best friend Laura, and like a waltzing memory the opening sequence shows their childhood through to adult friendship. Heartbreak, hair brushing and marriage for both, Laura after giving birth to a baby girl, Lucie, falls gravely ill. Everything shared and endured together, at her funeral Claire swears to watch over Laura’s husband and daughter. The desperate loss Claire feels leads her to take a week’s rest from work, and keeping to her word she visits David (Romain Duris) and Lucie. When she arrives at their large plush property Claire makes a surprising discovery about the way David is coping with the absence of his wife, which opens a door to a new chapter in their lives.
Francois Ozon has addressed a set of key issues and prejudices in a very chic and very attractive French package. Anai Demoustier is wonderfully sensitive, equally mischievous and sharp, bringing depth and confliction to a young female character. With Romain Duris, the psychological implications of gender roles and the comfort of trust and being permitted to be one’s true self are explored. In all his mincing glory, David provides unique repartee and creates a playful relationship, which concurrently provides a support system that becomes vital for both characters’ happiness.
In no way as flimsy as the first ten minutes may have you assume, the root of this film has depth. For the most part the pace is good, and happily the developments and decisions of each of the characters are not always predictable. As a film with sadness and humour in almost equal doses, it tackles themes of self-acceptance of the unknown and suppressed desires well. Handling themes of sexuality and seemingly fluid gender, and at times conflicting desires in a comedic environment, Ozon cleverly eases his audience in.
The New Girlfriend is released in the UK on 11th October 2014.
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