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Special Treatment (2011)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 168

My Rating

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. --

Jan 17, 2012


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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (10) | DVD (3)

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

October 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Complex, compassionate and endlessly illuminating...

September 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

August 28, 2011 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop 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.

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop 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.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Isabelle Huppert has a sly technique and endlessly fascinating face, but this initially intriguing drama abandons darker overtones for rather wan interpersonal revelations.

September 13, 2011 Full Review Source:

A dramatically inert and poorly acted French film.

August 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

This solemn, unsexy France/Belgium/Luxembourg co-production...takes mean swipes at both psychotherapy and male sexuality, but fortunately seems most determined to give star Isabelle Huppert another well-deserved showcase for her versatility.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Huppert's performance is strong and Labrune's previous films show she's not without talent. You wish she hadn't so stubbornly adhered to one tiresome idea.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

A curious cross of sex therapy and psychotherapy where nobody spends much time in bed or on the couch.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

Despite its flaws, Jeanne Labrune's Special Treatment is surprisingly atmospheric at times.

August 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The tag line for the advertising campaign is bold: 'A film that dares to tell the truth about women.' I, unfortunately, missed whatever truth that was.

July 13, 2011 Full Review Source: ABC Radio (Australia)
ABC Radio (Australia)

The cast manage to make the film engaging to some extent, although it becomes less and less interesting

July 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Huppert is always a welcome presence on screen and while strong performances give the film weight, they cannot rescue the journey as the narrative dips in and out of credibility

July 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

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!
December 30, 2011

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)
July 28, 2011
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.
June 1, 2012
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

In "Special Treatment," Xavier(Bouli Lanners), a psychoanalyst, and Alice(Isabelle Huppert), a prostitute, walk into a medical supplies store. Xavier is enjoying the material rewards from his practice. Maybe a little too much for his wife Helene(Valerie Dreville) as she kicks him out of their apartment, not liking his attitude one bit. Alice has her eye on an antique chandelier while her friend and colleague, Juliette(Sabila Moussadek), is troubled by the kind of clients her friend brings in. Alice thinks she might be right as she is considering professional treatment, not just retail therapy.

"Special Treatment" wastes a potentially provocative set up and only succeeds as well it does mostly by the talent and fearlessness of Isabelle Huppert. A lot of that comes down to less a failure of nerve than sheer indecision by the filmmakers. At first, it seems the movie might be a veiled critique of psychoanalysis by comparing it to prostitution by saying that all everybody needs is a good lay.(Or one could argue if one does something solely for money, then that makes you a prostitute.) But the movie sadly never follows through on that or a fascinating structure that eventually asserts itself before abandoning that to chase down another subplot to explore. In the end, it is about nothing more interesting than a pair of mid-life crises. I guess what comes around goes around.
September 5, 2011
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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