Friday, September 7, 2012

Coming 9/18 to DVD -- "The Woman in the Fifth," Starring Ethan Hawke and Kristen Scott Thomas (Review)

The Woman in the Fifth 


American novelist Tom Ricks (Ethan Hawke, Two-time Oscar® nominee, Training Day, Before Sunset) arrives in Paris determined to renew a relationship with his estranged wife and daughter. When the longed-for meeting goes poorly, he ends up in a seedy hostel on the outskirts of the city. Unable to pay for his room and board, he agrees to work as a night guard at a warehouse for the proprietor (Samir Guesmin) and spends the hours writing elaborate, imaginative letters to his daughter. One evening, after he’s invited to a literary gathering, Tom meets Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas, Oscar® nominee, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), an enigmatic translator whose magnetic presence and worldly manner intrigue the down-and-out author. She seduces him, haughtily dictating the time and place of their rendezvous in the 5th arrondissement. Their passionate affair coincides with a string of inexplicable events, and slowly Tom’s anxieties and inner torments begin to derange his sense of what’s real.

My Thoughts:

Being sick has its perks.  Everyone in our house has been sick these past couple of weeks, so when the girls napped during the daytime, I was able to catch up on movies that I had been sent to review.  One of these movies was "The Woman in the Fifth,"a Parisian psychodrama, that has you hooked from start to finish.  I have always enjoyed watching Ethan Hawke in movies, and loved the chemistry he had in this movie with Kristin Scott Thomas.  This mystery thriller is based on the novel by American novelist Douglas Kennedy.   Having not read this book, I wasn't sure what it was about, besides what I read in the synopsis I shared above.

Ethan Hawke plays a college lecturer, who up and moves to Paris to be closer to his young daughter, who is living with his estranged wife played by Delphine Chuillot.  Hoping to rekindle his relationship with his wife upon his return, his plans are side tracked when he is robbed and ends up in a motel, and takes a job as a watchman for a local crime boss.  During this time, he crosses paths with Margit, a widow played by Kristen Scott Thomas.  The film gets its title from the fact that Tom and Margit only meet at her apartment in the fifth arrondissement.

This riveting film surprised me in how it showed parts of Paris you don't usually see or expect -- run down hotels, gloomy parts of this beautiful city including deserted side streets and alley ways.  Having never been to Paris myself, I would have never thought to associate the city of love like this.  But, without scenes like this, this mystery thriller would not have been as good.  Tom had set off to return to Paris to his wife and daughter, only to be swept into another distressed version.

What I liked best about this film was that it made you think.  Things were not clearly spelled out for you as to why they were happening.  You had to decide for yourself what was real and what was made up.  This made you sit on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens next.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to watch this thriller, and can say it was one of the best I have seen in a long time.  Like good mysteries should, it made you think and you were taken on a ride, only to be surprised at the twists and turns and eventual ending.  After seeing this film, I am now interesting in reading the book to compare both.  Now, to only find the time. :-)

Disclosure:   I was sent a copy of this DVD from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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