Suzanne (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byJennifer Tate17/10/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Katell Quillévéré’s second feature film is a visually arresting and emotionally engaging coming-of-age drama with an intelligently written script and compelling performances at its heart.

What’s it all about?
Co-written and directed by Katell Quillévéré, Suzanne follows the lives of two completely different sisters: the lost and deeply troubled Suzanne (Sara Forestier) and her self-sufficient younger sister, Maria (Adéle Haenel). The film begins in their childhood and follows the pair all the way up into adulthood, exploring the strength of their ever-deep sibling connection; but when Suzanne falls dangerously in love with attractive small-time gangster, Julien (Paul Hamy), she finds her life slowly but surely spiralling out of control. Finding herself running the risk of losing everything from her relationship and young son Charlie, to her own freedom, it’s her loyal younger sister and their loving, widower father, Nicolas (François Damiens) that are left to pick up the pieces.

The Good
Marking her second feature, Katell Quillévéré (who co-wrote the script along with Mariette Désert) proves she’s definitely a female filmmaker to watch with this distinctly moving and quietly intelligent film that subtly explores the strengths and dangers of love on a number of levels. Emotionally engaging and suitably paced throughout, Suzanne’s fittingly poetic soundtrack and naturalistic cinematography work together wonderfully with the affecting storyline to make an altogether arresting film.

The Great
Suzanne’s character is developed in an exceptional manner and to watch her and all her lust and loneliness on screen is by turns intriguing, scary and nerve-wracking. Kind-spirited, yet dangerously blinded by love, her complex characteristics almost defend her terrible decisions and as a result, she’s endearing before she’s frustrating. Huge credit for this goes to the mesmerising performance by Sara Forestier, who together with Adéle Haenal as the more grounded sibling Maria, convey an on-screen sisterly bond like no other. Finally, François Damiens in a rare non-comic role as their lost and devastatingly helpless father is superb, delivering that continually sad and distant facial expression to perfection.

Worth seeing?
With its terrific performances, intelligent direction and emotionally engaging storyline, Suzanne is an unforgettable drama that quietly tugs on the heartstrings. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 21/03/2019 17:34

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