French twist on reality
In the House.
DESPITE promises to be a social satire with a flash of Hitchcockian menace, director Francois Ozon’s In The House gradually turns into a routine thumb-sucker on reality versus fiction. The ever-brilliant character actor Fabrice Luchini and the ever-brittle Kristin Scott-Thomas play a married couple, frustrated by their attempts to have a meaningful relationship with art. He is a high school literature teacher who yearns to illuminate Flaubert for semi-literate students while she works in an art gallery that fails to excite the public with its would-be, edgy displays. Life becomes much more interesting for both of them when they start reading the stories of one of his students, Claude (Ernst Umhauer), who is using his class assignments to deliver a riveting running commentary on his relationship with the family of a dull-witted fellow student. Soon Germain (Luchini) is so caught up in Claude’s serial that he lies and even steals a math test to keep the tale going. Director Franois Ozon, adapting a play by Juan Mayorga, initially keeps a pleasing balance of humour and suspense, leaving us guessing whether he’s heading for farce or thriller. The answer is neither as In The House trickles to a close without saying much except that storytellers can be tricky.
– KYLE SMITH, New York Post
In The House opens today.
Fabrice Luchini in a scene from