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After a series of missteps (e.g., The Courage to Love), French New Wave veteran Claude Lelouch bounces back smartly with this masterful and constantly surprising thriller (2007) whose layered plot involves a celebrated crime novelist (Fanny Ardant), her missing ghostwriter, and a serial killer. Lelouch and his longtime writing partner, Pierre Uytterhoeven, slyly exploit and subvert audience expectations: when an abandoned single mom (Audrey Dana) and an introverted stranger (Dominique Pinon) meet by chance at a highway rest stop, there's more to them than their class or sexual status suggests. All trails lead back to the novelist, whose personal crisis echoes the movie's themes of loss and rebirth. In French with subtitles. 103 min.

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