Special Treatment (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this darkly erotic drama from cult filmmaker Jeanne Labrune, Isabelle Huppert stars as a high-class prostitute named Alice who serves up sexual fantasies for her clientele, from schoolgirl innocence to S&M. Fed up with the seamy underbelly of French masculinity, Alice crosses paths with Xavier, a neurotic psychoanalyst facing a marriage crisis. The two quickly realize their professions share a thing or two in common as they navigate the overlapping worlds of psychotherapy and sex therapy. -- … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Jeanne Labrune, Richard Debuisne
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 17, 2012
Box Office: $8.9k
First Run Features - Official Site


as Alice Bergerac

as Xavier Demestre

as Pierre Cassagne

as Hélène Demestre

as Robert Masse

as Happy and Sad Man

as Transvestite

as Pipe Collector

as Pedophile Customer

as Elegant Sportsman

as François Briand
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Special Treatment

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (9)

Though the parallels drawn between therapy and prostitution grow tiresome, the duo's interaction is peppered with inspired comedic moments.

Full Review… | October 13, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

At the end, there is no great revelation, but Huppert has succeeded once again in making us wonder what's going on in there.

Full Review… | October 6, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Complex, compassionate and endlessly illuminating...

Full Review… | September 15, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

It isn't a lightweight erotic romp at all, but a complicated and delicate two-person odyssey that's much richer and subtler than that.

Full Review… | August 28, 2011
Top Critic

As clichés trot through their sessions - it's like "In Treatment" as bedroom farce - we check out. Huppert, though, is as fearless as ever.

Full Review… | August 26, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

To put it plainly, Ms. Huppert, now 58, is too old for the part. The spectacle of Ms. Huppert, the epitome of adult self-possession, impersonating a schoolgirl is grotesquely amusing.

Full Review… | August 25, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Special Treatment

I am glad I took a friends advice and waited for DVD on this one. I think in a cinema for an hour and a half, this would have been a snore. Quite an achievement for a movie about a hooker played by Isabelle Huppert!
This is more like a small slice of her daily life than any big story or plot happening. It just ambles along. There's some of her work with clients (I found the costumes more interesting than anything going on here. Isabelle is still beautiful and compelling onscreen), and the implication that her friend is something more, but it never really goes there either. The main story is that she is tired of hooking and wants to quit. Whether she does or not is up in the air, but I got the impression she did. It's not horrible, but there is really not much of anything going on in this movie. A bit disappointing.
Strictly for fans of Isabelle!

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

it's one of those european movies that specialize in making a seemingly provocative story into a mediocre sleeper which lacks any climax. (pardon, i'm mundane, and i need dramatizations to spice it up)

a self-claimed 43 year-old high-class prostitute who is an expert in role-playing sex-games meets a jaded therapist who encounters a series of depressions in his life. then the man books a series of services from this woman, but he cannot decide what he really wants, what position, what kind of scenario within their sexual dallidances, or even whether he really wants to get laid or not! bascially half of the movie is spent on how the therapist doesn't wish to get laid while the woman considers to get herself another kind of profession. in a brief, they both are tired of putting themselves away to comply the needs of others. and there's no romance, no affair but several ordinary conversations about their impasse of life. does that suggest that people of extraordinary professions are actually quite ordinary by private?

audience follows those trivial daily details of their lives, then all of a sudden, the movie ends just like that. so the man gets his wife back, and the woman finds a job as an art-collector. the camera lingers over her face while she takes a sip of her coffee (so "interesting"?!) this movie is designed to fail your expectation, pre-programmed to be anti-climaxical! the only amusing eposide is the part isabelle huppert dresses as a 14-year-old school girl to please her client who has troubles with erection. that episode does have a dry sense of humor. the rest of movie is quite a bore!

i do wanna say, even this movie is quite a piece of tedium, (you would definitely not be entertained for it!), at least, it is honest and real. totally the opposite to the stories of chuck palahniuk, whose characters have no ounce of realism in them. "special treatment" is glued heavily to the real conditions of human frailty without dramatization or exaggerations by giving it some excessively oddball story-developments. that's one thing i must say no matter how un-entertained i have been!

who says i want realism?! i want magic! (blanchet from streetcar named desire)

Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

A thoughtful character study of an aging, high-class prostitute and her reluctant client, a therapist having some marital difficulty. Isabelle Huppert and Bouli Lanners play the two damaged souls who help each other without making any conscious effort to do so. This is a quiet film, without much action and very little skin showing for such a dark subject. The dialog is subdued, but powerful and Ms Huppert is marvelous in her role. The camera work was exquisite, using soft focus and playing with depth of field to keep the viewer engaged at the most pivotal moments. This one grew on me as it progressed.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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