Une Vieille Maîtresse (The Last Mistress) (An Old Mistress) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Une Vieille Maîtresse (The Last Mistress) (An Old Mistress) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 18, 2009
Although the period detail is beautiful I just wasn't drawn in by the plot or the characters. It's a shame as I liked the sound of it so much.
dietmountaindew
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2009
"the last mistress" is the work of art from the director who's made "romance", catherine breillat, and it's much more reserved and polished due to its backset time-scale than breillant's any other sensationalistic piece. frankly, as a fervent feministic provocateur, breillant has always been a little bit too politically contrived on the bedroom matters when she seals her relentlessly cynic mockeries to genders and marital legimacy. somehow that characteristic spoils the genuine artistic success she may have ever had. "the last mistress" is another achetypical example of her radical viewpoint which is also very avant-gardistly cliched: sex, the physical desire could override any santuary reverence men have over innocence, purity and the institution of marriage, no matter how much you may love a person, but you still listen to your genital down below at any cost, you may feel agonic and very much in pain but you just cannot help it, so women're better off without the bondage of men, be the dominatrix who masters over men.....come on, tell or advocate me something which i haven't heard or read in these three decades of feministic movements.

in a nutshell, the tale goes like this: a penniless libertine swoons a beautiful chaste woman of higher birth, the jewel of french aristocracy, but he has a hard time terminating his 10 year affair with a wild gypsy-like she-devil, a seed of illegitimate union(princess and matador). the male libertine deserts his mistress for the virginal lily, and he believes he's whole-heartedly in love, then this gluttonish she-devil traces him to his newlywed chateau to re-kindle their illict sparkle. then the man succumbs...later, his wife discovers then has a miscarriage by broken-heart. eventually the libertine has ruined the happiness of his precious wife as everyone predicts. the classic quotation here would be "in love, the first to suffer has lost"....

undoubtedly, the she-devil is played by the notably spunky italian actress asia argento who's been taking roles of brave indiscreet women since the 90s, her smashing performance in 1998 "b monkey",,,then her role is always tough woman-rebel or daredevil whore...i've always been amazed by her gritty beauty, and i've never found any character she performed abrasive despite the inevitably repeated typecasting until the moment after i watched "the last mistress"...her interpretion is fine and perhaps argento is the only actress who could render this role due to her winsome features which are literily designed for this role. but i've got to admit, asia argento's no longer the same fresh-faced ingenuine who toys between reckless seductiveness and brittle naivete that i saw 10 years ago in her american debute "b monkey"...she's upgraded into a more spiteful lilith-like being who ruminates and devours in full masterful manipulation in catherine breillant's "the last mistress" which definitely decreases her likability.(or she just ain't that gorgeous as she was in 1998?)

the castings of the leads are absolutely a gallery of striking fair youth, and the male protagonist has a pair of juicy smackable lips, eyes of sheer transparent blue, and skin made of milky streaks of porcelain, same for the blonde-haired woman-protagonist, so statuesque like people who stride out of europe's classical paintings. somehow that makes the setting even more peculiar and oddly persuasive, accompanied by such cherishable beauty, you would still like to cheat with a third party who may not rival your wife? perhaps the ignition of lust could surpass any romantic sentimentality you've been deeply inspired. the director's camera frame has manifested well on that by a shot of the man's wedding ring and the illict woman's snake-shaped bracelet.

this movie's made with some refinement which surprises me since it's done by the same brazen woman who chooses to bare a vaginal frontal scene and have his lead woman sex with a real porn actor in "romance"...but honestly i'm still deeply annoyed by her sexual politics in this latest movie of hers. why, as a woman, she has to be so tremendously selfish just for the sake of shameless unbridled freedom even it would cause pain to others??? it even features one scene where argento's character smirks at the cornered seat of church when the man's wedding is to be proceed on with some drab bliblical admonisments for marital virtues on women as if she lures the man just to defy church out of taunting contempt...would she care the other party which's never done any damage to her? personally if that's the necessary attitude to pronounce your feminist right, it's better to have no part of it when your blissful emancipation has to be built by the sacrifice of those irrelevant people. wouldn't woman, in this case, just descends into the accomplice of man to wreck other woman's life?
Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2008
from a plot standpoint, we've seen this one before -- it's reminiscent of 'dangerous liaisons' and 'dangerous beauty.' the story line is framed by a chorus of mediocrity. what sparks and differentiates this film is argento's performance. she is purely and unapolegetically carnal. she is like a mix of frida khalo's masculinity and cleopatra's seductress. i'm not sure how much of this character is acted, but it is quintessentially asia argento.
deano
Super Reviewer
½ August 18, 2008
This French epic movie directed by Catherine Breillat is like Jane Austen meets Last Tango in Paris. Scoiflty and deftly immersing me in the fashions - not just the clothes and decor, but also the changing sexual and social ethics - of the 1830s.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
July 21, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"The Last Mistress" starts in 1835 Paris where Ryno de Marginy(Fu'ad Ait Aattou), minor nobleman and all around reprobate, has just gotten engaged to Hermangarde(Roxane Mesquida), a wealthy member of the nobility. Polite society hopes this will turn around his life and is gloating about his dumping his longtime mistress, Vellini(Asia Argento).[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Just because Catherine Breillat, the high priestess of provocation, has made a sumptuous but talky(so much so that she gets dangerously close to Eric Rohmer territory.) period piece with "The Last Mistress" does not mean that she is making a bid for respectability which puts her on the same level with her heroine, who she has quite a bit of sympathy for. In 19th century Paris, Vellini, 36, is beyond the age when any reputable woman should be married. The fact that she is also promiscuous, fond of sex, smokes cigars, leaves and departs the opera when it pleases her and on one very special occasion, dresses in men's clothes makes her a further outcast amongst the nobility that she socializes with. Breillat takes her story and uses it to explore the notion of love outside of marriage. Now, if only she had an actress with more talent than presence in the lead role.[/font]
Super Reviewer
July 29, 2008
Once in awhile, the rapid French film industry pops one of these out..good yet incomplete in some way. You follow the affair...and follow it...and don't really understand it...and then the film ends. I'm shrugging.
kylemydude
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2011
Watch this movie with your significant other. :) A very sexy movie, and a brilliant timepiece. Even if you don't have a significant other like myself(SADFACE), still go and watch it. It is very well written, has some great performances, and one of the steamiest films I've seen in some time.
June 23, 2013
More plot than usual for a Catherine Breillat film; that still doesn't mean that it's any better than her other stuff.
June 8, 2011
Although not in the mood for subtitles(keeps me from multitasking),I found this to be beautifully well done & well worth the trouble.
½ July 20, 2010
Catherine Breillat's film is pretty to look at but a terrible lead (Asia Argento) keeps the film from rising to better heights.
½ February 22, 2010
Without losing any subversive edge, Catherine Breilliat announces her incursion into the pantheon of 'serious' film makers with this relatively subdued period piece.

Gone for the moment are the easy provocations and in their place a more mature, subdued autopsy of the sexual politics that are Breillats stock in trade.

The images have a casual loveliness reminescent of ken russell or derek jarman's approach to costume drama, asia argento is at her caged animal best and fu'ad aattou is channeling a young mick jagger of sorts.
January 4, 2010
The Last Mistress (2007)

I'm unfamiliar with director Catherine Breillat previous works. I've heard that she's a famous feminist director. This movie is based on Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly's novel and is an erotic french costume drama. As I'm a big fan of Asia Argento's movies, I couldn't pass this up.

Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Ait Aattou) is an infamous libertine and has been engaged to a beautiful, virginal, rich, aristocrat, Hermangarde (Roxane Mesquida). All of Paris is astounded that this marriage is doomed. The Viscont de Prony (Michael Lonsdale) and his Wife have been warning Hermangarde's Grandmother, the Marquise de Flers (Claude Sarraute) of Ryno's 10 year affair with Vellini Annesley(Asia Argento).

The worldly Marquise de Flers is aware that most marriages don't last 10 years and asks Ryno to explain his affair with Vellini before she can consent to the upcoming wedding. Ryno is perfectly candid, spending most of the night telling her every sordid detail of their torrid love affair. Of course, we're able to see everything too. Somehow, he is able to convince her that he and Vellini are over.

Both Ryno and Vellini are oddly androgynous to each other, with Ryno a swollen-lipped, soft, pale-skinned romantic and Vellini a capricious, cigar-smoking, sexually aggressive temptress. They are obviously drawn to each other, although can it still be considered love?

Perhaps, I'm too infatuated with Asia Argento, but I can see where Ryno is coming from, and I really enjoyed this film.
December 29, 2009
I thought this movie was pretty good for the most part. I really liked all the characters even though they were slightly crazy! I loved the look of this movie and the story was instering. I really liked how it ended.
½ August 18, 2009
Raw yet beautifully extravagant. I saw this for free on-demand and was pleasantly surprised at the fine acting and dialogue in this passionate love story. A bit too much like a romance novel for my taste, but it was enthralling nonetheless. Fine quality film making here.
July 8, 2009
i'm sure me stumbling upon this film was not by chance, for it is relative to what i'm going through now. the film helped me. Thank you Catherine. You have helped save a soul. Nothing more...nothing less....

T.B.
Detroit, MI
December 31, 2008
This year, my attraction to minute indie and experimental films landed me in an inch deep and mile wide puddle of low rent non-classics, (good stuff came out but I'm fairly certain I unluckily missed the lions share of it). My sadness for the thwarted efforts of so many docmakers and mini-auteurs compels me to keep quiet about just which of the titles were of particular offense but the reason for my thin complaint is really an excuse: I missed alotta big ones this year. Look at my soggy, soapy and stodgy top ten. Rationale for each film follows.

TEETH 82%
For a guy, it's horror; for a girl, it's comedy. That alone makes this one worth a place in some kind of almanac. And yet, it's unlikely Guinness is interested...Their loss.

THE LAST MISTRESS 75%
French genius Catherine Breillat treats thinking like full body activity -- costumes are rich, relationships are messy and politics are (as always) strikingly sexual.

SEX AND THE CITY 50%
I could go on about the politics of treating sex like a commodity or the implausibility of a journalist owning a closet full of Manholos, but in the end this tidy, glossy, highly commercial, death knell to feminism makes me inexplicably happy. It doesn't help me feel good about myself, but it makes me happy.

GIRL CUT IN TWO 79%
Gabrielle Snow (Ludivine Sagnier) is forced to trade love for "appropriate" companionship and loses majorly in the bargain. No one ever comes out and says society's arbitrary rules are tearing her apart; instead (because French Master Claude Chabrol likes to be a snarky bastad) a magician puts her in a sawing box.

THE BANK JOB 78%
A team of quirky thieves take a bank and (mostly) get away with it -- because the British government of the time is as upright as the FBI ala the Coen Bros. When a robber defends himself with a brick from the foundation of an historic building you can't help sensing politics in (wait for it) "full swing."

ON BROADWAY (insufficient reviews for tomatometer)
Of the puddle of smaller Indies, this one stood out from the fold. About a handful of Bostonians (led by a New Kid on the Block, Joey McIntyre) who put on a play in a pub, On Broadway is quietly and pragmatically about the risk of being creative, the importance of culture and the joy of beer. It'll play you like a fiddle.

SHOTGUN STORIES 72%
It's a mystery to me how this film is simultaneously mythopoetic and understated. In fact, much of the film is somehow confounding and that's its strong suit. Well, that and Michael Shannon -- who's surprisingly hot.

MILK 93%
It doesn't hold a candle to Rob Epstein's The Times of Harvey Milk (could director Gus Van Sant have underplayed out of respect?), yet Milk is so clearly a love poem to the activist spirit you can't help falling for it.

YOUNG@HEART 88%
Ready the hankies.

GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON 86%
I like weirdos.

TROPIC THUNDER 83%
Kinda breaks tradition with my girly proclivities but it's wicked funny!
½ July 4, 2015
For a film about passion, it was oddly static.
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