Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Intimate Strangers (Confidences trop intimes)


INTIMATE STRANGERS pairs the mysterious Anna, played by Sandrine Bonnaire, with the lonely William, played by Fabrice Luchini. They meet when Anna enters William’s office and begins telling some secrets. She mistakenly believes he is the therapist with whom she has an appointment. William doesn’t realize what’s going on until it’s too late to correct her. Even after he acknowledges that he’s not a psychologist, Anna wishes to continue their sessions.

INTIMATE STRANGERS comes from director Patrice Leconte, who has been on a role the last five years with MAN ON THE TRAIN, THE WIDOW OF ST. PIERRE, and GIRL ON THE BRIDGE. He’s among the best today at turning out films in the classic French mode. He’s interested in how humans interact and what they say to one another. INTIMATE STRANGERS is a dialogue driven film that thrills through carefully selected words and actions. Jérôme Tonnerre’s screenplay develops tension by having the characters strategically reveal and hold back information. It’s riveting, especially as the stakes get higher in Anna and William’s game. Bonnaire and Luchini thrive in this setting as they try to peel back the layers of each other. Bonnaire in particular remains inscrutable until the deeply satisfying conclusion. The score indicates that INTIMATE STRANGERS shares traits with film noir. Like William, Leconte makes us work to uncover what that might mean, but it’s worth it in the end.

Grade: B+

(Review first aired on the September 28, 2004 NOW PLAYING)

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