Last Summer review – Catherine Breillat’s all too safe version of a dangerous romance | Cannes 2023

Catherine Breillat has made a scorching – or quite tepid – mess of this remake of the very current Danish erotic thriller Queen of Hearts, and it’s not instantly clear why precisely she felt she wanted to direct her personal reasonable model. The modifications quantity to smudging the unique’s icy Scandi sheen, reducing its erotic pleasure, making the performances extra laboured and thus leaving the story’s important preposterousness dangerously uncovered.

The primary movie, from writer-director Might el-Toukhy, featured Trine Dyrholm as a sublime profession lawyer specialising in representing rape victims who has a passionate affair along with her teen stepson; that’s, her husband’s moody son by his first marriage. Now the motion is transplanted from chilly Denmark to sunny, summery France and Léa Drucker performs authorized high-flyer Anne, married to rich however boring businessman Pierre (Olivier Rabourdin), with two cute adopted twin women. She has a sister, Mina (Clotilde Courau), who lives domestically, has a much less glamorous and profitable life and is affectionately but shrewdly unimpressed by Anne’s pretensions.

When Pierre’s tearaway 17-year-old son Théo (Samuel Kircher) proves to be not possible for his ex-wife to deal with, he involves reside with Anne and Pierre, and Anne is affected by his tousled, pouting gorgeousness, his loneliness, his vulnerability beneath the sullen angle and the way in which he walks round along with his shirt off, revealing a toned torso so completely different from her husband’s sagging paunch. Anne turns into – within the immortal phrases of Noël Coward – mad concerning the boy. One factor results in one other, amongst them the realisation that Anne could be fairly ruthless in the reason for her personal survival. Her high-bourgeois life is proven by the way in which she stands round consuming wine on a regular basis in her pretty house, and the streak of potential rebelliousness is signalled by her open-topped sports activities automobile, which isn’t too sensible for ferrying a household round.

Breillat’s film rolls alongside capably sufficient whereas the affair is in progress, nevertheless it’s examined to destruction when issues go mistaken. She shouldn’t be good at delivering the iciness essential to the story’s third act, happier as she is with the sunny, languorous sexiness of the amour fou. And the plot developments of the movie’s closing part, significantly Anne’s final encounter with Théo, simply look foolish.

Breillat appears to have retreated from the uncompromising strategy to sexuality that she confirmed in well-known movies like À Ma Soeur!, and but appears uncomfortable within the Chabrol-type drama by which Isabelle Huppert would possibly, beneath different circumstances, have performed the Anne function. Principally, Anne wants that Greeneian splinter of ice in her coronary heart. Drucker hasn’t bought it – and Breillat’s film doesn’t discover a method for her to get it.

Final Summer time screened on the Cannes movie pageant.