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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

La Nouvelle Eve (review)

Falling in love with a married man is a sure path to heartbreak, as many a single girl has learned the hard way. Parisian Camille (Karin Viard) doesn’t want to hear about the drawbacks: she has, much to her surprise, become smitten with Alexis (Pierre-Loup Rajot). A straight-arrow local political activist, he, married with two kids, is precisely the opposite of commitment-phobic Camille and her orgy-going, drug-taking friends. Their vastly differing inclinations for indulging their own perhaps fleeting whims and desires will be the biggest obstacle to jump-starting an affair, but Camille is determined to have Alexis, despite the weather eye of his wife, Isabelle (Catherine Frot). Catherine Corsini’s film lingers on the nastier side of love and romance, the jealousy and the possibility of betrayal and rejection that lurks beneath the surface of every relationship. And the volatile and manipulative Camille, who deliberately spreads her unhappiness to all around her, is a protagonist hard to like. The story is initially so slow to get going that my attention threatened to wander, but La Nouvelle Eve has a compelling pull that wins out in the end. Any woman who has wallowed in this particularly female brand of masochism, of setting oneself up for disappointment by falling for an unavailable guy, will perhaps find the film hitting close to home — though how Camille and Alexis’s story ends is likely not the kind of encouragement those women need.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

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