The Woman In The Fifth (2011)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

Original title:  La Femme Du Veme

France/Poland/United Kingdom, 2011, , , , , , , , , , , , .  Screenplay by Pawel Pawlikowski, based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  Toronto International Film Festival 2011.

Moody, creepy drama in which American Ethan Hawke shows up in Paris with the intent of reconciling with his French wife and being reunited with his daughter. Following the theft of all his belongings almost immediately upon his arrival, he takes up residence in a hovel of a rooming house run by a shady character, who eventually offers him an even shadier job working as doorman for what appears to be the criminal element. Attending a soiree, he meets a beautiful Romanian woman (Kristin Scott Thomas, divine as always) with whom he begins an affair, but time passes and eventually we begin to see lines of reality blur. Hawke’s character is, after all, a novelist…how much of what we are seeing is only in the imagination? Is this a yarn being spun by a storyteller, or is it a portrait of madness? It’s a quiet, confident piece of work, featuring strong direction and good performances, though director Pawlikowski’s desire to be Kieslowski is far too obvious and there is no doubt that he falls short. It is neither mysterious enough to be enchanting, nor is it comprehensible enough to be satisfying. Still, it has its moments.

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