“Elle” is a French erotic thriller that digs deep into the psyche of a rape victim and goes in the complete opposite direction of what you might expect. I anticipated a classic game of cat and mouse in which the victim hunts down the assailant; instead, this story unravels the layers of the victim’s life so that we can understand why she reacts to the crime in the way that she does. The film is all about Isabelle Huppert’s Oscar-nominated performance. She commands the screen by developing several different sides of herself, each of which is visible to a different person. The end result is a multifaceted character that feels raw and real. The story is equally complex and unexpected with a wide array of characters whose unique personalities bring out the different sides of Huppert. While the acting is great, the film disappointed me in its slow plot development and lack of action. The conclusion is satisfying but feels like a missed opportunity in an era of movies that are always accompanied by a strong political statement. Personally, I find “Elle” to be overrated in comparison with great French films like “The Intouchables” and “The Chorus,” though I applaud it for thinking outside of the box. It is worth giving this one a shot but brace yourself for strong content and dialogue.
[Pictured: I don’t know if Isabelle Huppert was worthy of an Oscar nomination but her performance is impressive]