Film: Unforgivable (Impardonnables) (2011)
Cast includes: André Dussollier (Tell No One), Carole Bouquet (That Obscure Object of Desire), Mélanie Thierry (The Princess of Montpensier), Adriana Asti (Before the Revolution), Muro Conte
Writer/Director: André Téchiné (Thieves)
Genre: Drama | Mystery (111 minutes) French with subtitles
Francis wants his next mystery novel to be set in Venice, so he is looking to rent an apartment in the heart of Venice for a year. Judith, the real estate agent, doesn't really have what he's looking for but she has a house on Saint' Erasmo that comes with a boat. If it hadn't been raining, Francis would have looked elsewhere but he let Judith talk him into looking at the Saint' Erasmo house. By the time she has shown him the house, he's become quite taken with her. "Move in with me," he suggested impulsively. "It's ridiculous. You don't even know me," she says. Judith later has lunch with Anna Maria, an old friend who also lives on Saint' Erasmo. It's about time they reconnected. They had once been lovers, but then Judith has once had many lovers -- both male and female. She's surprised when her old friend tells her, "Just marry him." Anna Maria's life has been difficult lately. Her son will be getting out of prison soon, and she worries about him constantly. Her work as a private detective is slow, and she is feeling rather washed up.
The film skips forward to summer of the following year, and we see that Judith did indeed marry Francis and move in. When Francis's granddaughters come for a visit, we find out that Francis, too, has a history of multiple lovers. But this time is different. For the first time ever, he's so in love he has writer's block. When they go on a beach outing, granddaughter Alice disappears. It looks like she simply packed a bag and left. After investigating all the places she'd likely to go, Francis wants to hire Anna Maria to do some investigating. Judith thinks it's pointless because Alice doesn't want to be found. And then there's Jérémie, fresh out of prison and in need of... something that's hard to work out.
If you're hoping this will be a crime thriller, it isn't -- although there are definitely elements of mystery. Viewers will simply have to relax and see where it goes because it's impossible to guess. With many different threads, the narrative feels rather like a real-life story... with some menacing undertones... and spectacular scenery in and around Venice. And then there's the "ruined aristocracy." Venice is rich with elements of mystery, but don't expect all the threads to be tied up by the end.
3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
Not a mystery but a family drama with mysterious elements, set in Venice
Distribution: Art house
Tempo: Cruises comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Engaging
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Thought provoking
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