Les Sentiments, 2003

Les Sentiments is a richly textured, humorous, deceptively lyrical, emotionally lucid, and intelligently crafted exposition on the dynamics of love, marriage, fidelity, and attraction. The film chronicles the genial and affectionate interaction between a happily settled, middle-aged couple, Jacques (Jean-Pierre Bacri) and Carol (Nathalie Baye), and their young, overly amorous tenants, a newly married couple named François (Melvil Poupaud) and Edith (Isabelle Carré) – who have moved into the country so that the young man can assume Jacques’ medical practice after his retirement – as their relationships evolve from polite cordiality to friendship, and inevitably, to dangerous, impulsive temptation. Idiosyncratically (and cleverly) integrating a Greek chorus that alternately comments, presages, and contextualizes ellipses in the narrative, Noémie Lvovsky further demonstrates remarkable agility in creating subtle, but profound tonal shifts that propel the engaging and quietly, but astutely realized human observation to increasingly complex, difficult, and ambivalent emotional terrain that, ultimately (and deservedly), takes on the sublime (and equally compelling), emotional weight of a modern-day Greek tragedy.

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