This 2003 melodrama stars Fanny Ardant as an elegant middle-aged doctor who learns her husband (Gerard Depardieu) is unfaithful. Desperate to make sense of his betrayal, she hires a young prostitute (Emmanuelle Beart) to bed him and give her the details. For this undercover investigation the hooker assumes the name Nathalie, but she's really more of a Scheherazade; as she spins her tales of seduction to the wife the older woman's psyche gradually heals. Depardieu, a great actor who in recent years has delivered several overblown performances, is here measured and naturalistic, a sympathetic match for Ardant's icy obsessive, and Beart is suitably mysterious as a spy in the house of love. Anne Fontaine's restrained direction gets a welcome boost from Michael Nyman's score. In French with subtitles. 100 min.
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