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Leaving


As thin as its luminous star

Rod Lott February 23rd, 2011

 There’s not much to the 2009 French drama “Leaving.”

leaving

It’s not bad; story-wise, it’s simply as thin as its luminous star, “The English Patient” vet Kristin Scott Thomas. She plays Suzanne, the happy, stay-at-home mom and wife to Samuel (Yvan Attal, “Rush Hour 3”). He’s a successful doctor, providing her and their two children with everything they could need or want, but without losing sight of what’s important. They are sweet to one another; he is shown to have no great faults that would crack away at their 20-year marriage.

Why, then, would Suzanne choose to throw it all away for a torrid affair-turned-relationship with Ivan (Sergi López, “Pan’s Labyrinth”), the ex-con construction worker who’s been working on their property?

Director Catherine Corsini doesn’t say. Known as “Partir” in its native country, the beautifully photographed “Leaving” reminded me of Adrian Lyne’s “Unfaithful,” especially when the catting-around Suzanne smiles in the car, thinking of her sexual misdeeds, much like Diane Lane did on the subway. “Leaving” also reminded me of Lyne’s “Fatal Attraction,” as Suzanne must be stricken with some sort of psychosis to explain her out-of-nowhere behavior. At least she doesn’t resort to kidnapping and rabbit-boiling.

Some of its intended power is blunted by Corsini’s decision to open her film with a tease from the end, before jumping back six months to tell her tale. It’s unnecessary, and Thomas is captivating enough an actress to lure viewers into a story with her mere presence. It’s just a shame you grow to hate her character. —Rod Lott



 
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