It's love at first sight when bridesmaid Senta falls into the life of a handsome young Phillipe at the wedding of his younger sister. As their passion for one another intensifies, Phillipe slowly discovers that Senta is s... more »hrouded in mystery.When one day she asks Phillipe to performa a terrible deed as proof of his love for her,Phillipe must come to terms with who his lover might really be.« less
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 06/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chabrol here tackles obsession, and does it masterfully. This is really the story of two obsessed people, not one. One's a man and one's a woman, and each somehow instantly recognizes in the other, upon first meeting, that they are kindred spirits.
It's easy to see this recognition and also easy to see the obsessiveness in each. Senta--incredibly sensual--is, one realizes fairly quickly, a storyteller, a pathological liar. Philippe is obsessed with his mother and with the stone bust of what appears to be a Roman goddess. If the viewer looks closely--VERY closely--it's not hard to see that the faces of the goddess, Senta, and Philippe's mother are all very similar. At one point in the film, he kisses the stone bust on the lips. Is this normal? I think not. In fact, near the beginning of the film, we are amazed to find that the somewhat older woman whom Philippe obviously appears attracted to and whom he physically relates to, in the outside world, as one would a lover, is in fact his mother. This is definitely not normal behavior.
The pacing here is flawless. Chabrol is, one could say, the undisputed master at probing relentless behavior founded on obsession, and here he is really in his element, as he was in his last truly great film, La Ceremonie. While The Bridesmaid still does not have the astonishing intensity and depth of the 1995 film, it is nevertheless a terrific piece of work that never takes a false step.
The DVD is graced with a nice (text) interview with Chabrol, as well as with a short but telling on-the-set featurette. In the interview, Chabrol notes that one of the key elements of any good thriller is a corpse. This does turn up in The Bridesmaid, but in a startling--even shocking--way, as the viewer will see.
Very highly recommended and a welcome return to the pleasures of Chabrol the master of psychological obsession and its dire consequences."
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 03/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think to say that this film fails because of its implausibility is to miss the point. And to say that Phillip is too "normal" to ever get involved with Senta is to misread this film. From the very start before we ever meet Senta, Phillip is quite obviously attracted to his mother with whom he still lives. He's also strangely attracted to a stone head that decorates the family garden. When the mother decides to give this stone head away to her new love interest, Phillip is jealous and he misses the mothers affections; and he wants his mother's lover dead. Once he accepts that his mother loves another, he transfers all of his love onto the cold object that once decorated the family garden and he longs for its return. When Phillip meets Senta, a human as cold as his beloved stone head, he is given permission to explore his desires (and those desires may seem "unnatural" or "abnormal" or "perverse", it all depends on what you perceive to be "natural" or "normal" or "healthy"). In the world of Chabrol, however, the perverse is the normal and so Chabrol is the perfect director to adapt Rendell's perfectly transparent studies of garden variety psycho and sociopaths. The beauty of Charbol is that everything, from the most ordinary to the most extraordinary, is presented in the same mundane way. Nothing surprises Chabrol's camera. Its his utter neutrality that excites the viewer. His subject matter is Hitchcockian but his treatment of that subject matter is singularly Chabrol.
Not quite as good as La Ceremonie (but then no film of the last ten years has been). Top-drawer Chabrol nonetheless."
Maybe best Chabrol in his late period
AregAsa | CinemaWorld | 05/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perfectly done, crisp performed and directed by Claude Chabrol; - a director, who is not in my list as a favorite one. I decided to write a review, after I've read other's and learned that this is a transcript from book. So whatever is the weakness in Ruth Rendell's novel, he made the exact and perfect think out of it. That is the real director who could make a movie as a another form of art and in the same time keep the essence of the original. I think, this is an exciting and dramatic twist of Femme Fatale. And Benoît Magimel is perfectly expressing the controversy of his situation, especially at the very end the story."
Chabrol's Newest Intrigue Puzzle, but One with Missing Piece
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The films of French Cinema master Claude Chabrol have been some of the quirkier, intelligent, strange, and creative works to come out of France (La Fleur du mal, Merci pour le chocolat, Au coeur du mensonge, Rien ne va plus, La Cérémonie, L'Enfer, Madame Bovary, Dr. M, etc). His works are marked with sinister underpinnings and his technique has been to place his characters in situations that challenge them to behaviors they consider bizarre until they understand the core of their somewhat deranged personalities. LA DEMOISELLE D'HONNEUR (THE BRIDESMAID) succeeds as a art work on so many levels that the viewer is inclined to forgive some of the dangling missing pieces in character and plot development that prevent this film from being Chabrol's finest. The setting, pacing, cast and concept are intriguingly seductive: that is enough to make the film work well.
The Tardieu family is in the midst of preparing for the wedding of one daughter Sophie (Solène Bouton), learning to accept the new love affair of the mother Christine (Aurore Clément) to a wealthy newly divorced man Gérard (Bernard Le Coq), becoming used to the edgy antisocial behavior of daughter Patricia (Anna Mihalcea), and all the while being cared for by the successful contractor son Philippe (Benoît Magimel). On the television is the report of a murdered young woman and the disruption of a television show frustrates the obsessive Philippe in his work to keep the family focused. We jump to Sophie's wedding to nerdy Jacky (Eric Seigne) whose cousin Stéphanie "Senta" Bellange (Laura Smet) is the bridesmaid of the title. The strange but sensuous Senta captures Philippe's eye and a rather torrid love affair begins. Senta is passionate and makes Philippe agree to four demands to prove he loves her: the last two (killing someone/anyone) and having sex with a same sex partner) jolt Philippe but he throws his usual caution to the wind and proceeds with the pairing. A homeless man who lives at Senta's grimy cellar lodging door repulses her, and when a police report that the man has been found dead, Philippe falsely 'confides' to Senta that he is responsible. Senta then promises to kill Gérard as her half of the bargain: Gérard has avoided Philippe's mother and Philippe feels animosity toward anyone who would disturb his beloved mother. The plot thickens, then boils: the 'murders' change from reality to mistaken identity to heinous ends. Philippe has become immersed in Senta's madness, leaving an ending that remains 'in media res'.
Chabrol leaves strange clues scattered about for the astute eye to discover, at times in retrospect, and it is this trait that makes the story so fascinating. The cast is superb, with Benoît Magimel proving that his success in 'The Pianist' was not a fluke. He is a gifted actor and maintains an electrifying screen presence. This may not be Chabrol's best film, but it is twisted enough to keep the viewer tensely focused on the very strange story and on the complexly interesting set of characters in this very French film noir! Grady Harp, July 07 "
Claude Chabrol Directs Ruth Rendell Thriller Again
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 09/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"[The following review includes mild spoilers.]
French veteran director Claude Chabrol takes up again Ruth Rendell's thriller (after his terrific "Judgment of Stone" made in 1995). "The Bridesmaid" is equally atmospheric, but less unpredictable and intense than his previous Ruth Rendell adaptation.
The plot of "The Bridesmaid" revolves around young Philippe, honest and slightly timid man played by Benoît Magimel with his pitch-perfect acting. Phillip loves his mother and two sisters, is a hard-working person and trusted by his boss. He is an ordinary man quietly living in a rural city of France.
But everyone has an obsession of some sort and Phillip has one. He hides it from his family, but he secretly loves "Flora" - I won't tell what she is, though that's no secret from the beginning, implying the desire in the seemingly quiet character of Philippe.
But one day his obsession changes to something more dangerous when he encounters a girl named Senta (Laura Smet), one of the bridesmaids at his sister's wedding, and falls passionately in love with her. And Senta asks him to do four things for her to prove his love, which Philippe does not take seriously at first.
I won't reveal the content of her peculiar request here, but one famous Hitchcock thriller would come to your mind if you know the content of Laura's request. Anyway Chabrol cleverly inserts shots that suggest something weird and bizarre during the episodes that apparently describe the mundane daily life. Stories of Philip's mother and her new lover or his sister's marriage are introduced casually, but they all play significant roles later. The film's opening scenes about the news report of a missing girl and unconcerned attitudes of Philippe's sisters to the news are also a nice touch.
I know opinions divide here, but in spite of the deft camerawork and impressive acting, I couldn't find myself drawn into the world of the film. Maybe that's because Philippe's obsession with "Flora" didn't work in the script ("Flora" should look like Senta, but this fact is not stressed enough). Or maybe that's because the lack of mystery on the side of Senta, who is certainly enigmatic, but the truths about her character are too transparent.
I am not saying the film is a bad thriller. It is a solid thriller that wraps up neatly, but not with the nerve shattering climax of "Judgment of Stone" which I prefer to this one."