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Movie Review: Gabrielle

Alternate Title: Les Miserables

Story: Want to watch the dissolution of a marriage between two despicable characters? If that's what gets you going then check out this claustrophobia art house film directed by Patrice Chereau based on the short story, The Return, by Joseph Conrad.

The year seems to be around 1900 in Paris. M. Hervey and his wife Gabrielle, have a loveless, lustless, upper class life surrounded by snobs, salon types, pseudo-intellectuals, the bored and the boring. One day she suddenly leaves a note saying she is leaving him and then, just as quickly,she returns. The film is all about how he handles it and how she reacts to him. In short order I hated them both and wished them the unhappiness they so richly deserved.

Director Chereau arbitrarily goes from color to black and white and also throws in 3000 point type every now and then as exclamation points. The acting was great but I could not wait to leave the theater.

Acting: Both Isabelle Huppert and Pascale Gregory were perfect in their respective roles. Too bad the story could not hold my interest.

Predilection: none

Critters: 0

Food: Lamb, chicken, potatoes.

Soundtrack: Over the top melodramatic.

Visual Art: The expansive mansion that this couple inhabits was filled with blank walls, some sculpture and lots and lots of narrow hallways.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded but most of us ran out of the theater to escape at the end.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The couple made me squirm.

Drift Factor: It is hard to drift in a subtitled film.

Predictability Level: I did not know what was to happen, nor did I care.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Neither

Length: Long at 90 minutes.