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Review: Leave (2009)

Director: Catherine Corsini | 82 minutes | drama | Actors: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sergi López, Yvan Attal, Bernard Blancan, Aladin Reibel, Alexandre Vidal, Daisy Broom, Berta Esquirol, Gérard Lartigau, Geneviève Casile, Philippe Laudenbach, Michèle Ernou, Jonathan Cohen, Hélène Babu, Sali Cervià, Assun Planas , David Faure, Philippe Beglia,

At the beginning of the film, it is immediately clear that the outcome of all is dramatic anyway. A woman is sleepless in bed, a man is next to her. Both are awake. She gets up, walks away and a moment later you hear a shot off screen. What happened is not shown, but the impact is great. Did she shoot someone, did she kill herself? What drama has taken place before this? A catchy start. Then the story goes back in time. That focuses on the classic story of what the French so beautifully call an amour fou.

Suzanne (Kristin Scott Thomas) is happily married and has two children. Her husband Samuel (Yvan Attal) is wealthy and regarded as a successful surgeon. They live in a beautiful house and belong to the “better circles”. Suzanne apparently has everything her heart desires. She wants to return to her former profession of physiotherapist and Samuel has a practice room made in the house. One of the handymen is the somewhat raw ex-jail client but likeable Yvan (Sergi Lopez). Yvan is Spanish and is treated condescendingly by the elite Samuel. A stupidity from Suzanne injures Yvan and is hospitalized. She visits him there and wants to pay him compensation. The flame burns down between them, the two collapse unconditionally and Suzanne is so passionate that she is willing to trade her luxurious life for a new life full of love (and poverty) with Yvan. When she leaves her husband, he is deeply offended. Suzanne is part of his “property,” and Samuel is willing to do anything to get it back.

The story then develops into the classic fight between these three, in which, as is often the case in these types of situations, the children are in trouble and are often forced or manipulated to make choices. Suzanne and Yvan increasingly experience the consequences of Samuel’s opposition in their attempt to build a new life, their situation becomes increasingly difficult. Developments then follow each other in rapid succession and it is clear that any solution – in whatever form – will ultimately result in drama for those involved.

The casting is well chosen, the locations are beautiful and the camera work fine. Kristin Scott Thomas previously starred in “Il y a longtemps que t’aime” and now plays excellent again and knows how to portray her passion sublime. Sergi Lopez convincingly plays the rough chunk of Yvan with his appearance. Yvan Attal plays the role of the especially offended and revenge-hungry Samuel with verve. In that sense, the is convincing and successful. However, the emotional persuasiveness of the story is less and the story remains on the surface. For example, in the scenario the role of Samuel is portrayed a bit too black and white, while the contrasts of the luxurious life that Suzanne led versus the poverty she ends up in could have been portrayed a bit more subtly.

A story of passion, adultery and an insulted husband who “claims” his property. The urge to possess versus the urge to freedom: it just can’t end well, unfortunately we knew that from the first scenes. We will of course not reveal how it really ends. Because of the game, the will be appreciated by a wide audience.

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