Critic Consensus: Patrice Chéreau's exquisite rendering of Joseph Conrad's The Return brings underlying passions to surface in a long-suffering marriage.
A seemingly ideal marriage is thrown into embarrassing turmoil in Patrice Chéreau's period drama, Gabrielle. Based on the short story The Return by Joseph Conrad, the film opens with Jean (Pascal Greggory) extolling the virtues of his pretty wife, Gabrielle (Isabelle Huppert), in voice-over as he makes his way home from work. Jean and his wife, with help from their team of servants, have fostered the illusion of a perfect bourgeois household. Jean is particularly happy with the way Gabrielle presents herself at the couple's frequent dinner gatherings, attended by their "set," whom, as he describes them, "fear emotion and failure more than war." We see glimpses of these occasions in flashback, while Jean explains of his wife, "I'm proud of what she is -- impassive." The secure little world he's fashioned for himself is shattered when he arrives home and finds a note from Gabrielle, explaining that she's leaving him. "It's terrible, and right," the missive states. After a brief explosion of rage, Jean tries to compose himself, but he's thrown into chaos again when Gabrielle unexpectedly returns home. She finds it impossible to speak to Jean. "This letter is not the worst of it?" he asks her. "The worst is my coming back," she explains. The two struggle bitterly to regain the balance in their relationship. Soon, in the interest of appearances, another dinner party is planned. Gabrielle, switches from black-and-white to color and back from scene to scene, and is also notable for its intriguing use of intertitles. It was adapted by Chéreau and his frequent collaborator, Anne-Louise Trividic, and was shown at the 2005 New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. … More
|Genre:||Drama, Romance, Art House & International|
|Directed By:||Chantal Neuwirth, Isabelle Huppert, Pascal Greggory, Raina Kabaivanska, Patrice Chéreau|
|Written By:||Patrice Chéreau, Anne-Louise Trividic|
|In Theaters:||Jul 14, 2006 Limited|
|On DVD:||Dec 19, 2006|
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as Gabrielle Hervey
as Jean Hervey
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Critic Reviews for Gabrielle
Although it is possible that French actress Isabelle Huppert makes the occasional false move, she does not make them in front of a camera.
This is a careful and cinematic adaptation that rings with painful truth.
For the most part, [Chereau] lets Huppert and Greggory provide the emotional impact. They respond accordingly, imbuing their mutual suffering with an exacting and moving finesse.
Chereau matches Conrad's insistence on psychological accuracy, burrowing through the protective layers of self-delusion that hold so many human relationships together.
Husband and wife, upper-class couple Jean and Gabrielle Hervey, are played, to perfection, by two of France's premier film actors: Pascal Greggory and Isabelle Huppert.
Audience Reviews for Gabrielle
[font=Century Gothic]In "Gabrielle", Jean(Pascal Greggory) is a wealthy businessman who has been married to Gabrielle(Isabelle Huppert) for the past ten years. Together they host a literary salon every Thursday, that is much respected. One Wednesday, soon after returning home from work, Jean reads a note from his wife, informing him that she has left him for another man.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]But Gabrielle soon returns. And everybody lives happily ever after, right?[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]With "Gabrielle", director Patrice Chereau pulls out all the stops in telling this devastatingly powerful tale of marriage which is based on "The Return" by Joseph Conrad. In the brief time we spend with Gabrielle and Jean, we get a very good idea of what their marriage is like...and it isn't pretty, starting with Jean considering Gabrielle little more than a possession and a key to the perfect life he imagines for himself. But how does she feel about the situation? Isabelle Huppert gives another great, fearless performance and Pascal Greggory keeps pace with her. [/font]
This one finally popped up as being available on DVD a couple of years ago so I finally tracked it down. Was disappointed. It wasn't compelling enough compared to other period pieces.
Collapsing marriage melodrama is too talky to enjoy.
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