Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

{Love Crime opens in Seattle on Friday, 10/21, and is screening at the Landmark Harvard Exit}

I really don't know anything about the modern French workplace, but from watching Love Crime, it's easy to believe their executive suites exist in a reality derived from 1980's Hollywood films. Meaning their offices are awash with credit-stealing superiors who use fear and insecurity as management tools, sexually predatory female bosses, and employees who snort lines of cocaine off mirrors in their spare time.

Into this world steps Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) a brilliant beautiful blond obsessive who is willing to make her boss Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) look good no matter what…as long as she gets some love in return. It's been an issue since childhood for her. Even if we hadn't gotten the basis for Christine's ongoing manipulation, the film helpfully has Isabelle blurt it out in an early scene as she's thrillingly sharing lipstick with Christine.

If it has one, that's the problem with the film. There's a mix of completely unsubtle emotional manipulation that feels less than fresh. At the same time, the film is a mostly competent psychological revenge flick that certainly does have its moments. And both Kristine Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier are more than a little compelling to watch onscreen.

The first half which sets up Isabelle's problems is, while not entirely new, somewhat more interesting than the second half of the film. Once things move past the midway point, there are noirish twists and turns galore as Isabelle has decided she's had enough of things. The conclusion may leave some viewers feeling that her plans falling into place perfectly might be a bit too tidy. Though for me sometimes it's just nice when a film keeps things on the side of obvious that lets me feel superior for figuring out part of the plot. That may have left me in a more forgiving mood and from speculating why exactly she thought the plan was so sure to work. Which, given even a small miscalculation, it would not have.

As it turns out, Hollywood has already targeted the film for a remake. Presumably they'll remove the part about the American parent company being alternatively clueless and overly impressed with their Paris division. My suggestion is catch it now (or in subsequent video release). Revel in the over-the-top themes and acting, and treat it like the trashy guilty pleasure that it is. Those things always sound better in French anyway. At least as far as I'm concerned.