Nathalie Anne Fontaine

When Catharine (played by an intense Fanny Ardant) learns that her husband has been cheating on her, she treats his infidelity with the same nonchalance as she would if, say, he forgot to buy the milk. One might expect her to slap him across the face, or at least scream a little. She doesn't. Instead she finds a call-girl (Emmanuelle Béart) who agrees to try to pick-up Catherine's husband under the assumed name Nathalie. After her first encounter with Bernard (Gérard Depardieu), Nathalie begins a ritual of describing everything they do together for Catherine. According to Nathalie, all they do is have sex and her descriptions are very graphic. At this point, one might think Catherine would get angry with her husband for taking the bait so quickly, or at Nathalie for relaying every dirty detail without a trace of empathy for the suffering wife, but she never raises her voice. Were this film American there would be more yelling and crying between all of the characters, but since it is French it is subdued and quiet. When Bernard starts to feel the extreme cold shoulder from his wife, he becomes frustrated, but the only way he expresses his concern is through a few sighs and confused glances. He doesn't say a word. This lack of emoting from its characters is both the strength and the weakness of this film. The subtlety of each performance is refreshing; Depardieu's natural portrayal of Bernard makes him the most compelling character in the film, even though he's the one who started all of this trouble. But these expressions alone don't give us enough insight into their lives to make us care about any of them. The story leaves something to be desired. As for the DVD extras, they're all in French. Even though the featurette is impossible to understand if you don't speak the language of love, watching Emmanuelle Béart pole dance for an extended period of time may be reason enough to watch it with the sound off. (Seville)