Pierre and Anne have been married for several years. They have slowly started to grow apart. One night after a party, Anne tells Pierre that she is in love with another man. Although her admission is not surprising, Pierre... more »'s reaction is. This seemingly commonplace story is told in a modern, sharp, intimate style, allowing two remarkable actors to express a complex range of emotions. Full Filmographies, Interactive Menus, Scene Access, Production Credits, Widescreen Format 1.85:1« less
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 02/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well if you are going through a break-up of your own and you want some company then this film is for you. The actors are what drew me to the film. Isabelle Huppert has been in at least a dozen great films including The Piano Teacher and Merci Pour Le Chocolat. I would recommend both of those films to anyone. She can play enigmatic very well. In her best roles though we eventually start to see glimpses into just what makes her enigmatic characters tick. In this role there is enigma but not enough glimpses behind the facade. She just plays a generic unhappy wife. Anne(Huppert) just stares at her husband (Auteuil) as if waiting for him to react in the opening scenes when she reveals she has fallen in love with someone else. One doesn't sense this woman is capable of feeling passion for anything though. The new love doesn't give her life any added spark. It seems more like a diversion from facing what the real problem is. It seemed to me the real problem was that Huppert's character felt nothing for anyone. This is partly because of the kind of actress Huppert is--remote. And when Huppert's character does express some belated emotion toward the end of the picture it seems forced. Other directors have used this remote quality that Huppert has to great effect by offering us clues as to why she became that way but in this film shes just remote. Auteuil is fine. He is an actor who never hits a wrong note. What he portrays time and again is the lone brooding and quietly suffering type. He can play intense, in fact his characters are always intense, but his intensity is an inward intensity. There is not much chemistry between Huppert and Auteuil. For a movie about a break-up thats perfectly alright but its hard to imagine what these two characters ever shared and so it is hard to feel remorse that the relationship has runs its course. What is interesting is that though the passion between them is gone they still rely on each other because they know each other so well. And what is sad is that Huppert's affair though it turned out to be meaningless was enough to ruin a friendship which meant more to both of them than either of them ever knew until it was too late. The film is decidedly downbeat in its uncompromising look at a couples dissolution. And an honest film about such a topic could be no other way."
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 12/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although based on a novel by Dan Franck with the same title, the name of this film is misleading. Parisian couple Daniel Auteuil and Isabelle Huppert have a crisis when Isabelle confesses that she has fallen in love with another man, but this doesn't directly lead to their separation. It's more like a 10 point study of suffering in co-habitation. The source material having been written by a man clues us into whose story we are seeing, typified by how Isabelle doesn't see how her affair should impact on their relationship, but Daniel does. He's all jealousy and frustration and she's understanding. That is, until his hostility breaks out. Director Christian Vincent casts a relative as the couple's child, who Daniel videotapes intermittently, and the blue tint of the video is carried over into a general blue lighting state for the whole film. Vincent also controls the actors so that both deliver restrained performances, with Isabelle wearing a lot of jackets. Daniel has a few amusing bull sessions with his best male friend (an opportunity Isabelle is deprived of), and has a memorable hugging moment. Vincent also gives us the most stressful flying kite scene I've ever witnessed, though I could have done without the film's obvious ending. A conversation with Isabelle resting on Daniel's chest is particularly striking, and she looks very beautiful when dishevelled and her hair covers her face. The soundtrack is bleakly silent, with only Glen Gould playing Bach's Goldberg Variations over the credits, and we get a clip from Roberto Rossellini's Europe '51 with Ingrid Bergman."
Peter Shelley | 07/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Daniel Auteuil. Need I say more? I love him! If he is in a film, you can sure bet it is going to be a picture filled with depth and substance. He is one of my favorite actors, right up there with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. After you see this one, buy "The Girl on the Bridge", and see Auteuil show off his outstanding capability of playing a wide varitey of acting roles. One of the BEST in the profession!"
Peter Shelley | 08/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Intimate and intense French drama details the painful dissolution of a relationship. Superb and mature performances make this movie highly appealing for french movies fans. It is a slow exploration of a family break-up when Anne told Pierre that she is seeing another man. Fans of Huppert and Auteuil will not miss this movie. The end is of course depressing."
Isabelle Huppert And Daniel Auteuil At Their Best
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 11/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the finest acted movies I've ever seen...but, in my opinion, it has a somewhat uninvolving story. La Separation features two great actors, Isabelle Huppert as Anne and Daniel Auteuil as Pierre, in a one hour and 25 minute story of a marriage that dissolves for no one reason but many small reasons. In one scene they are lying, fully clothed, in bed after Anne has returned from seeing her lover, although it is unclear if Anne and the man made or have ever made love.
"What did I do wrong?" asks Pierre. "Nothing," Anne says. "You won't say?" "It's nothing specific. Just a lot of little things." "Tell me." "I don't know," Anne says. "Maybe we didn't talk enough. By not talking we put up with things we shouldn't have." "You could have told me." "I did." "Not like this." "I did in a different way. You just wouldn't listen...it's just...I met someone who listens to me... who's interested in me...who pays attention to me. That's all."
The story is told more from Pierre's point of view. He discusses things with two friends. He makes videotapes of his 11-month-old son and records his sad realization that these tapes will probably be the closest he'll be to his son after the divorce. At first he's calm and puzzled, but then begins to seethe with frustration and hopelessness. Anne in her way loves him, but has come to learn that marriage to Pierre will eventually drown her in...nothing; less passion, less feeling.
Auteuil's Pierre is something of a sad sack. He always needs a shave. He seems to have few emotional resources. His love for his young son is palpable. He'll see the boy two weekends a month, but knows that will never be enough to really be in his son's life. Huppert, as usual, is a master at demonstrating less is more. She shows less emotion, her motives are, on the surface, perhaps egocentric. As we realize what Anne's life has become, however, Huppert demonstrates the longing for something more...with a glance, a tentative motion to touch Pierre on the shoulder, a flash of exasperation. She's not heartless, she may not entirely know what she wants, but with Pierre she has come to know what she doesn't want. As one character says, "With a couple, one suffers and the other one's bored, and vice versa."
Why do I think the movie is somewhat uninvolving? Because the story-line goes straight from A (We see Anne pull her hand away from Pierre when he reaches out to touch her and she later tells him he irritated her) to Z (The divorce has been granted and we last see Pierre, scruffy as usual, wandering at night lost amongst some small streets trying to catch a cab). There are no surprises, no expectations and, in my view, just an overly film-ish look at the marriage's disintegration. For the most part, Anne and Pierre are just too civilized about everything, and all the doors to explore are closed by the conventions of the film. Could Pierre really not shape himself up, or at least try? Is Anne really as committed to a new life without Pierre as she seems? We never meet the other man, and toward the end of the movie he's no longer a factor in the plot. Although we learn that the divorce conditions will strongly favor the wife, could Pierre not privately work out with Anne much more contact with their son?
With all that said, Huppert and Auteuil are the heart of the film. They are so subtle and so authentic that I was completely caught up in the feelings of their characters -- and only later after a second viewing was I really aware of the job they were doing. These two actors make this movie worth watching.