Intimate Strangers (8/10)

Copyright © 2004 by Tony Medley

Anna (Sandrine Bonnaire) tells William (Fabrice Luchini) personal secrets thinking heís a psychologist. Alas, sheís opened the wrong door and, rather than a psychologist, William is a tax lawyer. What follows is a brilliant entertainment, highlighted by Luchiniís almost constantly perplexed expression.

Last year writer-Director Patrice Leconte gave us one of the best films I saw, Man on the Train, which was the story of the unlikely heterosexual bonding of a bank robber and a stranger who invited him into his home. Now Leconte has done it again.

When Intimate Strangers started out, I thought Anna was a relatively plain looking woman. By the time the film ended, I thought her beautiful.

Told from Williamís point of view, Anna is a mystery that captivates him. Captivates him to the point that he canít help himself.

When you tell the plots, neither of these films sounds particularly compelling. But Leconte is a directorial genius. He tells both stories in such an interesting way that the movies grab you and donít let you go. Thereís no action; nothingís uproariously funny; not even a hint of nudity; and no foul language. Regardless, this is a subtle tale of personal relationships, one of the more enjoyable films Iíve seen this year. In French with subtitles.

 August 7, 2004

The End