Ne Te Retourne Pas (Don't Look Back) (2009)


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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Not to be confused with the legendary D.A. Pennebaker documentary of the same name, this mind-bending psychological drama from France stars Sophie Marceau as Jeanne, a fairly well-adjusted wife, mother of two children, and author whose world gets turned upside down when she becomes aware of a calamitous transformation overtaking her own body. She quickly morphs into an Italian woman, also named Jeanne (Monica Bellucci); the latter's husband (like the first Jeanne's spouse) is named Teo (Thierry … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Marina de Van , Jacques Akchoti
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 16, 2010
IFC Films - Official Site


as Téo/Gianni

as Nadia 1/Valérie

as 11-Year-Old Brunette...

as 9-Year-Old Blonde Gi...

as Donatella

as Psychiatrist
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Critic Reviews for Ne Te Retourne Pas (Don't Look Back)

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

Don't Look Back leans hard on a conventionally atonal musical score and cheap shock cuts, as well as some dubious special effects.

Full Review… | May 16, 2009
AV Club
Top Critic

"Don't Look Back" begins promisingly. Seemingly obsessed with surfaces, the camera restlessly searches for hints and clues among the fragments we see, even before we know there's a mystery.

May 15, 2009
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

...feels as though it were pulled out of David Lynch's pile of (justifiably) rejected screenplays.

Full Review… | November 19, 2010
Reel Film Reviews

Anyone expecting more than the pleasure of seeing two of Europe's most ravishing actresses, Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci, sharing the same scene ... should brace for disappointment

Full Review… | July 1, 2010

There are two wonderful performances to savor here, but the film itself doesn't hold much of a lasting impact despite a convincing parade of hysteria.

Full Review… | June 25, 2010

Don't Look Back, an initially intriguing, ultimately incoherent mind-bender.

Full Review… | May 17, 2009
Screen International

Audience Reviews for Ne Te Retourne Pas (Don't Look Back)


Marina de Van's 2009 French thriller "Don't Look Back" actually had potential! If only the promise shown in the first half of the movie had lived up till the end, "Don't Look Back" could have been a solid example of a must-see, psychological thriller. But alas! So is not the case!


Jeanne (Sophie Marceau), a writer by profession lives in a plush apartment with her two children and husband Teo (Andrea Di Stefano). A strange encounter with a little girl triggers a string of events that seem to be visible only to Jeanne. These events particularly involve "changes". By changes, we do not mean changes in someone's behavior or circumstances.

These are physical changes...we are talking a complete metamorphosis; as she sees the arrangement of furniture in her house changing...she sees even some of the interiors in the house changing..and little by little the changes frighteningly start to happen in the physical appearances of her children, her husband and her own self......Jeanne knows what she is seeing isn't imagination, yet as everything around her, including her own appearance change in a way that they start to look like different people altogether, others around her insist that this is the way it has always been! Even when she sees her own video recordings she sees the 'other' woman in the footage that actually belongs to her! Baffled, as Jeanne is, just like us shocked viewers, her 'changed' self, the new Jeanne (Monica Bellucci) tries to find some answers to this situation, using only one old photograph she finds in her mother's place, as a clue...


For the first half, the film keeps us glued to our seats with its highly innovative and outlandish plot and its use of some interesting special effects. Yes..we must talk special effects here, as at one point, when the change is "in progress", you actually see a lady that is a "mix" of Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci...of course, this woman isn't a pleasant sight to watch, as half her features resemble those of Bellucci and the other half look like those belonging to Marceau (gasp!)!. This is not a perfect half-n-half is a strange "blend", as this partly 'changed' woman has the eyes of Monica Bellucci, the mouth of Sophie Marceau, a nose that is part Bellucci - part Marceau, and so on! It is this aspect of the effects that I particularly was in awe of. It was done so well...likewise the other characters, but their changes aren't shown to be as realistic as those seen in the central character.


Nonetheless, it is when Jeanne (Monica Bellucci) finds an old photograph that she believes will give her some answers to the spooky happenings, that the film starts descending the downward spiral! What could've been a truly awesome Kafkaesque or even Lynchian thriller, succumbs to the "trying to wrap everything in a neat package" syndrome, as the writers actually start dishing out some "realistic" answers pertaining to the "real world" to a plot built around surrealism! And not surprisingly, this approach actually does the film a lot of disservice, as the conclusion seems so contrived and unconvincing, that it renders the rest of the happenings illogical and more incoherent even from the perspective of the "unreal" world! Real world justifications (especially lame ones) for unreal happenings just don't hold water...and perhaps Marina de Van forgot this little fact!

The two lovely ladies do their job quite well and their astonishment at the bizarre things happening to them is convincingly portrayed. The filmmaking itself is atmospheric and visually brilliant until things start to steadily march towards their tepid conclusion. "Don't Look Back" can certainly be looked at once, because it is something you may not have seen before. After that one watch, however, it is simply not worth looking back at, even if you hope to find answers to certain things you may have missed...cause you won't!

Score: 7/10

Aditya Gokhale
Aditya Gokhale

Super Reviewer


"I don't recognize anything. Not even my own face."

Don't Look Back isn't an easy movie to wrap my thoughts around and review, and unfortunately, it also wasn't very appealing. Despite the irresistible presence of Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci, I found it hard to finish this movie. That's quite an accomplishment, now that I think about it.

What we have here is an effort to communicate the perspective of a woman whose home, family, and very appearance seem to be (literally and drastically) changing before her eyes. It confuses her, and I can virtually guarantee that it will confuse you, too. Don't Look Back is not a challenging movie (I'm guessing that's the intent with which it was created), it's a nonsensical one.

There's a definite attempt here to make a psychological thriller in the mold of Polanski's Repulsion mixed with a hefty serving of Lynch-style weirdness and mystery, but it's not grounded in anything substantial, captivatingly surreal, atmospheric, or ultimately human. At best, it's this movie is based on a potentially good idea run horribly amok. At worst, it's an overly long train-wreck with no point that unfortunately squanders two stunning and talented actresses. Aside from one of two interesting sequences, Don't Look Back isn't worth the trouble or the frustration.

Lewis C.

Super Reviewer


A French writer loses her ability to recognize her surroundings; her apartment becomes unfamiliar, her husband looks like a stranger, and eventually even the face she sees in the mirror is another woman's, until she follows a clue in a photograph and discovers a secret about her own identity. This psychological mystery is a bit slow moving and the movie lays on the horror music cues a bit too thick, but Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci give wonderful performances as the same woman in two different bodies.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

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