The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Elles | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review - Elles

Directed by: Malgorzata Szumowska
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Ana├»s Demoustier, Joanna Kulig, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing

Elle columnist Binoche questions her bourgeois existence while researching an article on students who turn to prostitution.
It seems that almost every French movie now is directed by a foreigner. This year we've seen Pole Pawel Pawlikowski's "The Woman In The Fifth", Finn Aki Kaurasmaki's "Le Havre" and now this, another work from a Polish director. What all three share is that they all feel like parodies of French cinema, trading heavily on worn out Gallic cliches.
If you've seen Anne Fontaine's "Nathalie", remade as "Chloe" in the U.S, then this will seem very familiar, it's practically the same film. Binoche is one of those working women who only exist in fiction, somehow able to balance a career at one of the world's premier publications with raising two kids and preparing daily meals elaborate enough to make Nigella Lawson envious. When she begins spending time with students turned hookers Demoustier and Kulig, an existential crisis kicks in. Has she wasted her life? Should she instead have become a prostitute? Is it the fault of her bourgeois society that girls turn to this career choice? This is all played out with scenes of her masturbating frantically on the bathroom floor and offering her shocked husband drunken fellatio. If that's not enough, Szumowska pounds us with metaphors of how Binoche's domesticated life is turning against her; the fridge door won't close, saucepans and kitchen knifes provide minor injuries, and worst of all for a middle class Parisian, the electric corkscrew refuses to cooperate.
There are a few moments of unintentional hilarity, especially the dinner scene where Binoche imagines the hookers clients gathered around the table for a sing along.
Foreigners like Argentine Gaspar Noe and Austrian Michael Haneke have succeeded in France because they have something to say, Szumowska and her cohorts would rather masturbate through their contributions to Gallic cinema.
4/10