Pasatiempo - - Moving Images -

“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

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