La Cérémonie (A Judgement in Stone) Reviews

  • Oct 08, 2017

    Does anyone find Sandrine Bonnaire and Isabelle Huppert are look-alike? Huppert gives one of her iconic performances here by portraying a deadly gruesome woman.

    Does anyone find Sandrine Bonnaire and Isabelle Huppert are look-alike? Huppert gives one of her iconic performances here by portraying a deadly gruesome woman.

  • Jun 23, 2017

    La Cérémonie is an creepily constructed film, with an impending sense of doom foreshadowing the shocking ending, with great twists scattered throughout.

    La Cérémonie is an creepily constructed film, with an impending sense of doom foreshadowing the shocking ending, with great twists scattered throughout.

  • Nov 07, 2016

    A strange, gripping story of different classes mixing. It challenges easy moralism.

    A strange, gripping story of different classes mixing. It challenges easy moralism.

  • Jun 09, 2015

    I have the most polarised feeling towards this Claude Chabrol's 1995 crime-drama based on Ruth Rendell's novel A JUDGEMENT IN STONE, it is a sterling slow-burner charting the irreconcilable contradictions between upper class and working class, and climaxes with a real unsettling crime asking for shock value, but one cannot immune to Chabrol's rather deliberate demonization of proletariat by bluntly depicting those two low-class women, the maid Sophie (Bonnaire) and the postmistress Jeanne (Isabelle), as such nihilistic sociopaths, especially Sophie, who is so preoccupied by the shame that she is illiterate (which seems to be utterly unnecessary for a young girl, it is never too late to learn from the scratch, but no, she doesn't want to overcome her shortcoming, instead she hides it as if this is the final defence towards the collapse of her entire world) and acts like a complete ingrate, contrasting the benevolent Lelievre family, at least no one can nitpick their behaviours are over the boundary. Even for Jeanne, the rancour between her and Georges Lelievre (Cassel) is mutual, but his wife Catherine (Bisset) doesn't refuse her ask to a free-ride and his daughter Melinda (Ledoyen) even voluntarily fixes her engine malfunction for god's sake! continue reading my review on my blog: http://wp.me/p1eXom-1V8

    I have the most polarised feeling towards this Claude Chabrol's 1995 crime-drama based on Ruth Rendell's novel A JUDGEMENT IN STONE, it is a sterling slow-burner charting the irreconcilable contradictions between upper class and working class, and climaxes with a real unsettling crime asking for shock value, but one cannot immune to Chabrol's rather deliberate demonization of proletariat by bluntly depicting those two low-class women, the maid Sophie (Bonnaire) and the postmistress Jeanne (Isabelle), as such nihilistic sociopaths, especially Sophie, who is so preoccupied by the shame that she is illiterate (which seems to be utterly unnecessary for a young girl, it is never too late to learn from the scratch, but no, she doesn't want to overcome her shortcoming, instead she hides it as if this is the final defence towards the collapse of her entire world) and acts like a complete ingrate, contrasting the benevolent Lelievre family, at least no one can nitpick their behaviours are over the boundary. Even for Jeanne, the rancour between her and Georges Lelievre (Cassel) is mutual, but his wife Catherine (Bisset) doesn't refuse her ask to a free-ride and his daughter Melinda (Ledoyen) even voluntarily fixes her engine malfunction for god's sake! continue reading my review on my blog: http://wp.me/p1eXom-1V8

  • Dec 11, 2014

    Fair. Isabelle Huppert won herself a couple of Best Actress Awards by this, but she's more a supporting role to Sandrine Bonnaire, literally.

    Fair. Isabelle Huppert won herself a couple of Best Actress Awards by this, but she's more a supporting role to Sandrine Bonnaire, literally.

  • May 11, 2014

    Chabrol was a master storyteller in my opinion and this film confirmed that for me.

    Chabrol was a master storyteller in my opinion and this film confirmed that for me.

  • Feb 09, 2014

    I don't know why, french films (almost) never click for me; the violent ending is not prepared by the boring "before", therefore you cannot attach to any of the characters, although the director intended to have you like the poor murderers, in order to finally shock you. Had a little of Straw Dogs for me, but a lot less than needed... Nice acting though...

    I don't know why, french films (almost) never click for me; the violent ending is not prepared by the boring "before", therefore you cannot attach to any of the characters, although the director intended to have you like the poor murderers, in order to finally shock you. Had a little of Straw Dogs for me, but a lot less than needed... Nice acting though...

  • Dec 06, 2013

    I didn't see coming such an ending. It clashed with the whole movie's atmosphere.

    I didn't see coming such an ending. It clashed with the whole movie's atmosphere.

  • Sep 30, 2013

    Disturbing and quite chilling, "La Cérémonie" shows Claude Chabrol at his best. Quietly filmed to a point that becomes unsettling, the film moves along slowly but builds to such an unbelievably shocking conclusion that it remains hard to forget days later. It's an exercise in complete iciness that you just can't shake off. Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire) is an odd, mild-mannered woman who is hired to work for the wealthy Catherine Lelievre (Jacqueline Bisset), and her family, as a housemaid. The enigmatic Sophie works perfectly for the job, as she doesn't get involved with the Lelievre's personal life and is agreeable. Catherine finds her to be a gem, as does the rest of the family. Things begin to turn sour when Sophie befriends the local postwoman, Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), who is outspoken but ultimately manipulative and slithery. Jeanne has a bad reputation with the Lelievre family, as they believe that she has been opening their mail before she delivers it to them. But that doesn't matter to Sophie, who is lonely enough to become friends with basically anyone. But the closer she and Jeanne get, the more hostile Sophie's relationship with the Lelievre's becomes. Before long, Jeanne and Sophie begin to scheme against them, in a way that is too serious to be ignored. "La Cérémonie" grabs us from the second it starts, and it doesn't let go. It isn't necessarily that compelling events occur non-stop, because nothing really does. We learn that Sophie is dyslexic, the Lelievre's go on vacation a lot, and that's about it. But it isn't necessarily the actions taking place that are so fascinating, but it's the way it's handled. Chabrol films it in a cold, bleak style that makes even the smallest of situations seem a bit creepy, and the ominous music that plays with mysterious near-silence constantly. Sophie herself is questionable, right off the bat. She doesn't have much when it comes to social skills, and when she's alone she either stares off into space in a way that makes you believe she's imagining something terrible, or she watches TV with spooky delusion. Bonnaire, a skilled actress, de-glamorizes herself and inhibits terribly-clipped bangs and a bit of a mustache; she plays Sophie with such perfection that you can't picture any other actress in the role. It's often confusing to tell however, if we are supposed to sympathize with Sophie. Because of her illiteracy, she has grown distant to other human emotion, and it's depressing to see how much shame can ruin people. You can tell she's somewhat off, and by the end, you know you're right. But is she the protagonist, or is Catherine? Catherine herself is played by the immensely likable Bisset, who is elegant but not snobby. The film ultimately dramatizes how much the "poor" can envy the "rich", and how far jealousy can get. It's most definitely heightened and unrealistic, but it's plausible in a way that sends a shiver down our spine. Huppert represents the "poor" category, and she is so scary to watch at times that you can't help but stare in utter horror. Jeanne has been so numbed by the hardships of life that nothing phases her, no matter how wrong or disgusting it is. Huppert plays ice-cold with ease, and is completely convincing and unhinged. "La Cérémonie" may be disturbing, but ultimately, it's a rewarding drama that rings no resemblance to most similar films. Chabrol has outdone himself.

    Disturbing and quite chilling, "La Cérémonie" shows Claude Chabrol at his best. Quietly filmed to a point that becomes unsettling, the film moves along slowly but builds to such an unbelievably shocking conclusion that it remains hard to forget days later. It's an exercise in complete iciness that you just can't shake off. Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire) is an odd, mild-mannered woman who is hired to work for the wealthy Catherine Lelievre (Jacqueline Bisset), and her family, as a housemaid. The enigmatic Sophie works perfectly for the job, as she doesn't get involved with the Lelievre's personal life and is agreeable. Catherine finds her to be a gem, as does the rest of the family. Things begin to turn sour when Sophie befriends the local postwoman, Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), who is outspoken but ultimately manipulative and slithery. Jeanne has a bad reputation with the Lelievre family, as they believe that she has been opening their mail before she delivers it to them. But that doesn't matter to Sophie, who is lonely enough to become friends with basically anyone. But the closer she and Jeanne get, the more hostile Sophie's relationship with the Lelievre's becomes. Before long, Jeanne and Sophie begin to scheme against them, in a way that is too serious to be ignored. "La Cérémonie" grabs us from the second it starts, and it doesn't let go. It isn't necessarily that compelling events occur non-stop, because nothing really does. We learn that Sophie is dyslexic, the Lelievre's go on vacation a lot, and that's about it. But it isn't necessarily the actions taking place that are so fascinating, but it's the way it's handled. Chabrol films it in a cold, bleak style that makes even the smallest of situations seem a bit creepy, and the ominous music that plays with mysterious near-silence constantly. Sophie herself is questionable, right off the bat. She doesn't have much when it comes to social skills, and when she's alone she either stares off into space in a way that makes you believe she's imagining something terrible, or she watches TV with spooky delusion. Bonnaire, a skilled actress, de-glamorizes herself and inhibits terribly-clipped bangs and a bit of a mustache; she plays Sophie with such perfection that you can't picture any other actress in the role. It's often confusing to tell however, if we are supposed to sympathize with Sophie. Because of her illiteracy, she has grown distant to other human emotion, and it's depressing to see how much shame can ruin people. You can tell she's somewhat off, and by the end, you know you're right. But is she the protagonist, or is Catherine? Catherine herself is played by the immensely likable Bisset, who is elegant but not snobby. The film ultimately dramatizes how much the "poor" can envy the "rich", and how far jealousy can get. It's most definitely heightened and unrealistic, but it's plausible in a way that sends a shiver down our spine. Huppert represents the "poor" category, and she is so scary to watch at times that you can't help but stare in utter horror. Jeanne has been so numbed by the hardships of life that nothing phases her, no matter how wrong or disgusting it is. Huppert plays ice-cold with ease, and is completely convincing and unhinged. "La Cérémonie" may be disturbing, but ultimately, it's a rewarding drama that rings no resemblance to most similar films. Chabrol has outdone himself.

  • Sep 15, 2013

    La Ceremonie is clearly a very class conscious movie featuring two amazing French Actresses, Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Bonnaire representing the working class (not to mention Jacqueline Bisset in a supporting role as the Bourgeois matriarch). This is a movie with a feeling of inevitable action about it, a film marching to a singular conclusion that one may or may not see coming, and yet when the end occurs, one is not surprised. I tend to enjoy Chabrol anyway, and this is one of my favorites among his films, a fascinating character study.

    La Ceremonie is clearly a very class conscious movie featuring two amazing French Actresses, Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Bonnaire representing the working class (not to mention Jacqueline Bisset in a supporting role as the Bourgeois matriarch). This is a movie with a feeling of inevitable action about it, a film marching to a singular conclusion that one may or may not see coming, and yet when the end occurs, one is not surprised. I tend to enjoy Chabrol anyway, and this is one of my favorites among his films, a fascinating character study.