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Sous le sable (Under the Sand) (2001)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 70
Fresh: 66 | Rotten: 4

Rampling carries the film with her finely nuanced performance of a woman coping with her husband's death.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 0

Rampling carries the film with her finely nuanced performance of a woman coping with her husband's death.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,994

My Rating

Movie Info

Noted French filmmaker François Ozon directs this drama about personal loss and resilience. Marie (Charlotte Rampling) is deeply in love with her husband, Jean (Bruno Cremer). One day while vacationing at the seashore, Jean disappears into the ocean. A distraught Marie notifies the authorities, but sadly, they find no trace of her beloved husband. Later, back in Paris, Marie attends a dinner party hosted by her friend Amanda (Alexandra Stewart); over the course of dinner, it emerges that Marie

Dec 11, 2001

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All Critics (85) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (66) | Rotten (4) | DVD (7)

Under The Sand lifts the phantom-spouse syndrome to the level of art, yet another dimension for this popular form.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... this picture demands (and rewards) close study ...

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It crawls under the skin by placing you firmly in the shoes of the mourner.

August 23, 2001 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
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It's hard even to describe the movie without making it sound trite. Rather, by showing behavior, the film gets at the emotional truth that underlies it.

August 17, 2001 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Quando o filme chega ao fim, podemos até não saber muito mais sobre o desaparecimento de Jean, mas certamente nos aprofundamos na complexa psiqué de sua esposa.

August 21, 2004
Cinema em Cena

A measured yet deeply enthralling character study of loss and loyalty.

February 13, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

A stately and reticent portrait of arrived-at bereavement... and the capacity for self-delusion [anchored by] the beautiful and talented Rampling, enjoying her largest, most interesting role in some years.

September 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today
Entertainment Today

The film takes you slowly and confidently to the labyrinth of denial that often accompanies horrific loss.

June 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Experience
Film Experience

Charlotte Rampling is delightfully sincere and believable in her subtle performance.

May 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A beautiful and challenging film.

April 14, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Under The Sand is vaguely disturbing, in an emotional sense, at all times.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Though flawed, this is a mature discussion of loss, denial and sanity that engages both the audience's heart and its head.

December 17, 2001

Characters will do or say something that seems inexplicable until Ozon provides a context, and suddenly it all makes sense.

October 18, 2001 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Where Rampling really bares herself is in the emotional revelations and rawness she delivers in just about every screen.

October 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Ozon ... displays a rare talent for being able to reveal life's interiority in unusually palpable terms.

August 20, 2001 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

This beguiling film ... is blessed with a wonderfully complex performance by Charlotte Rampling.

August 2, 2001 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Charlotte Rampling's performance, alone, is worth the price of admission...

July 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for Sous le sable (Under the Sand)

Complex drama of grief and its effects on one woman. Minimal dialogue and maximum emotional truth are on display. Charlotte Rampling is a marvel.
November 15, 2009
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Beautiful and heartfelt. Another gem from the very robust French cinema industry. This is a truly moving depiction of the mourning process. Ozon does a great job.
December 11, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

François Ozon's films, even those that aren't entirely successful, are always worth seeing, and Sous le Sable is certainly no exception. This is one of his "deceptively simple" films, that, like Le Refuge, explores one or two themes but in realistic, surprising and moving ways. Here, Charlotte Rampling offers a quietly impressive role as Marie, whose husband Jean goes for a swim in the sea whilst vacationing and is never seen again, apparently drowned. Marie refuses to accept that he is gone, even his physical presence, let alone his life, and thinks of him and refers to him in the present tense, her grief too awful, traumatic, impossible to 'indulge' in. Deeply complex, the film concentrates almost only on her denial and how she is able (initially) to make excuses for Jean's absence in her life, and at home when alone, imagine he is there (though 'imagine' is not strictly true - delusional is more appropriate but that word also has connotations of madness that may not apply). It's not easy viewing in any sense of the word, but Ozon is absolutely in control of all the elements and Rampling's performance, which seems perpetually on the edge of shattering, is nothing less than perfectly observed, but also restrained, understated, all in facial expressions (see also the work of Kristin Scott-Thomas and Lauren Ambrose). An extraordinary film.
August 19, 2011

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Foreign Titles

  • Unter dem Sand (Sous le sable) (DE)
  • Under the Sand (Sous le sable) (UK)
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