In much the same way Francois Ozon's recent Swimming Pool used an emerging Emmanuel Béart clone (Ludivine Sagnier) to relieve and ignite the bland sexual life of an older woman, Nathalie… features three of France's most exportable stars of the past 40 years, including Emmanuelle Béart herself as Nathalie, the sexually vicarious fixation of the older Fanny Ardant. Married to a man who she's just discovered routinely sleeps with other women on his business trips, Ardant approaches Béart in a strip club and hires her to make a pass at her husband (Gérard Depardieu). Béart quickly moves from saying hello to Depardieu at a café to sleeping with him, all seemingly according to Ardant's orders and desires. Crushed even further by the news of both her husband's lies and his sexual explorations she was never involved with, Ardant refuses to confront Depardieu with her knowledge, unexplainably concerned that he may actually divorce her. Told through Ardant's point of view via dialogues between herself and Béart shortly after each increasingly involved interaction, the reserved Ardant is both shocked and turned on by her husband's desires. And Béart, who at 38 plays the mental dominatrix with a controlled, detached sexuality, soon begins to use her powers for more than Ardant bargained for, blackmailing her into renting her an apartment. Fine performances, and Fontaine's ability to allow an empowered Béart to encourage the audience to imagine Béart and Deapardieu's encounters the same way Ardant must see them, combined with a slight twist of an ending that reveals that the relationship between Béart and Depardieu may actually be all talk, keep the film moving along and interesting. But for all of Béart's independence and strength, the ignored Ardant, problematically living through her, is inexplicably never given the opportunity to justifiably deny her husband's wandering eye, and instead strangely walks off with him at the end, arm in arm, looking forward to a new future together and somehow happier than ever. (Alain Sarde/Mars)