Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Beart, Gerard Depardieu, Wladimir Yordanoff, Judith Magre

Director: Anne Fontaine

Catherine (Fanny Ardant) is a middle aged French woman living in France with her husband and her son. She is still very much in love with her husband, Bernard (Gerard Derpardieu) even though their sex life does not exist and they both seem to have accepted things for what they are. This fact about their non-existent sex life makes her assume that he is cheating on her.

Catherine decides to deal with her husband’s infidelity in a very unconventional manner. She hires a prostitute, Marlene (Emmanuelle Beart) to pretend to be a straight decent girl called Nathalie, and to seduce Bernard. Catherine then arranges to meet with Marlene after each apparent encounter to get explicit details from Marlene and to her surprise this somehow awakens the passion that is buried within her.

As the situation starts to intensify Bernard starts to get suspicious of his wife’s comings and goings and also assumes that she is having an affair. Catherine must now decide what it is that she actually wants out of this thing she started and Marlene must choose to accept or deny the actual truth of the situation.

The acting is exceptional from the ensemble cast especially Gerard Depardieu who is intense yet relaxed giving his character vulnerability and strength at the same time. However despite the fact that the premise of the film is good and its look suits its mood, NATHALIE tries to be both a love story and a thriller, and unfortunately doesn’t succeed much on either point as it drags quite a bit in most parts.

While it’s not really worth a trip to the cinema it is worth viewing at home, mainly for the marvellous performances by the whole cast.

3 out of 6 stars