The price of pas­sion

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Jonathan Richards For The New Mex­i­can

Leav­ing, erotic melo­drama, not rated, in French with sub­ti­tles, CCA Cine­math­eque, 2.5 chiles

IYour lovin’ give me such a thrill, But your lovin’ don’t pay my bills. I need money. — from “Money (That’s What I Want)” Suzanne (Kristin Scott Thomas) may not have the per­fect life, but she has a life a lot of peo­ple would envy. She lives in a beau­ti­ful, art-filled mod­ern home in Nîmes, in south­ern France. Her hus­band, Sa­muel (Yvan Attal), is a suc­cess­ful doc­tor, she has two nice teenage chil­dren, and she is re­mod­el­ing an out­build­ing on the prop­erty to serve as an of­fice where she will re­sume the phys­io­ther­apy prac­tice she left years ago to raise a fam­ily. If there are prob­lems in her easy, af­flu­ent life, she does not seem par­tic­u­larly aware of them.

But Suzanne has some­thing else too, some­thing that pro­pels her si­mul­ta­ne­ously into rap­ture and dis­as­ter. She has a midlife cri­sis. She hopes that get­ting back to her aban­doned ca­reer will give her a sense of pur­pose. But through a se­ries of cir­cum­stances, she de­vel­ops a close­ness to Ivan (Sergi López), a Span­ish la­borer with a mildly crim­i­nal past who is work­ing on the of­fice ren­o­va­tions. And soon that close­ness ig­nites into a full-scale, rav­en­ous, worl­dal­ter­ing pas­sion.

Many years ago, a cou­ple of friends of mine set out in an early at­tempt to cross the At­lantic in a hot air bal­loon. They planned the project metic­u­lously, but two days out they were blind­sided by a freak storm no meteorologist had seen com­ing, and they dis­ap­peared with­out a trace into the rag­ing wa­ters of the North At­lantic. This is more or less what hap­pens to Suzanne, when an un­ex­pected pas­sion blasts her out of her care­fully or­ga­nized, well-or­dered life, and the re­sult is just about as dev­as­tat­ing.

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