“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” she tells Samuel. “It just did.”
This is not an unusual statement for a straying spouse to make. And in truth there’s nothing very new about this story. What makes it fascinating to watch is Scott Thomas, the bilingual Brit who is one of the finest actresses working today in French or English. A couple of years ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disgraced itself by ignoring her haunting performance as a woman with a long-held secret in I’ve Loved You So Long.
Here, she plays a woman who does not keep her secret long. Suzanne admits her affair to Samuel and soon leaves him to live in carnal bliss with Ivan. But things do not go well. Her husband wants her back; he freezes her credit card and bank accounts and uses his influence to blacklist Ivan from local employment. With her physiotherapy practice not yet established, Suzanne has little in the way of marketable skills. She and Ivan are broke and increasingly desperate, and while it may be true that money can’t buy you love, it’s even truer that you can’t live on love alone.
If you could, Suzanne and Ivan would be partying like Wall Street bankers. Their sex is great, steamy and intense, and director Catherine Corsini leaves little to the imagination. Scott Thomas bares all, and her several scenes of carnal coupling with Ivan and with Samuel explore as many moods and meanings as the Eskimos are said to have words for snow.
Leaving bears a number of similarities to another movie, I Am Love, which was shown here earlier this year. Both movies were made around the same time in 2009. I Am Love is the more opulent
Marital amiss: Yvan Attal and Kristin Scott Thomas