Alias Betty | Chicago Reader

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A successful novelist in suburban Paris (Sandrine Kiberlain) loses her young son in an accident, so her disturbed mother (Nicole Garcia), who suffers from the blood imbalance porphyria, steals the unwanted son of a hooker from the projects as a replacement. Writer-director Claude Miller is a capable storyteller, and this 2001 semithriller, adapted from Ruth Rendell's Tree of Hands, held me through its intricate plotting and often fascinating notations of class difference. As long as Miller simply crosscuts between the machinations of the three mothers, the sociological and psychological parallels are intriguing, but when they're forced to share the same story line, the contrivances and coincidences begin to seem fussily elaborate. In French with subtitles; the original and more descriptive title is Betty Fisher et autres histoires. 101 min.

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