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TIFF 2016 Review: “Elle” (2016) ★★★★★


Paul Verhoeven is the kind of filmmaker who can penetrate a man’s and woman’s mind with equal depth in such a way that it would seem he was born in a man and woman’s skin at the same time. His ability to read and predict precisely each of their actions is an outstanding skill that other filmmakers can only dream of. “Elle” is a film that can never be considered an easy one. Its storyline is complicated, psychological, and more importantly, makes you think and analyze as you watch it. It describes the life of a woman, who potentially could be as dangerous as her past, and  somewhere deep in her mind she still is. It is, as you can imagine, a matter of time to bring out the devil that hides beyond the depths of her consciousness…

Michèle Leblanc is a successful businesswoman, who leads a huge company that develops computer games. Everything will turn upside down, when she decides single-handedly to hunt down a man that rapes her. As her search continues, she tries to look for him inside the company, since she has reasonable evidence that the man she is looking for might be her colleague. But the question is, why Michèle refuses to report the sexual assault in the first place, and what it is that made the entire city dislike her – this is where the real answer lies…

Michèle does appear as someone who you feel sympathy for, and that feeling will never change towards her. But her twisted mind, and her desire to be, should I say, treated harshly by a man soon will be proven, as the cat-and-mouse game she begins will take a whole different direction. Isabelle Huppert brings the best of Michèle Leblanc you could possibly imagine. She is attractive, strong and capable to defeat any enemy she wishes to. But her first enemy is herself, her dark desires, and notorious past, that will never let her go. And when you have a super combination of Verhoeven’s brilliant mind, and Isabelle Huppert’s arguably incomparable performance, Elle becomes an instant classic whether we want it to or not.


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