Nathalie (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A seductive French import that portrays adult issues of jealousy and betrayal with strong lead performances and considerable French charm.

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Movie Info

A middle-aged woman fears that her husband is cheating on her -- and chooses a very unlikely method for verifying her paranoia -- in this psychological drama from the writer of Une Liaison Pornographique. Catherine (Fanny Ardant) is a successful Parisian gynecologist whose long-term marriage to Bernard (Gérard Depardieu) has been passionless as of late. When she checks his cell phone messages one afternoon, she discovers a suggestive "thank you" from a young colleague of his, which creates an even wider chasm between the two. Desperate, Catherine goes to an upscale strip club nearby to solicit the services of Nathalie (Emmanuelle Béart), a matter-of-fact prostitute. It seems Catherine wants Nathalie to seduce Bernard and report back to her each week, an assignment that's initially off-putting to the young woman, but one she begins to relish as the weeks pass. Soon, Nathalie is using intimate details to fuel Catherine's rage toward her husband. Nathalie... had its gala North American premiere at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Fanny Ardant
as Catherine
Emmanuelle Béart
as Nathalie / Marlène
Judith Magre
as La mère de Catherine
Rodolphe Pauly
as Le fils
Evelyne Dandry
as La patronne du bar
Aurore Auteuil
as Catherine's Patient
Idit Cebula
as Ghislaine
Sacha Rukavina
as Marianne
Marie Adam
as Medical Secretary
Sophie Seferiades
as Other Patient
Serge Onteniente-Boutleroff
as Real Estate Agent
Ida Techer
as Marlene's Friend
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Critic Reviews for Nathalie

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (6)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

... the conceit works beautifully with the right personalities, talented and uninhibited, engaged in its execution.

April 28, 2006
New York Observer
Top Critic

Nathalie... offers compelling food for thought, with a little visual stimulation thrown in on the side.

Full Review… | April 14, 2006
ReelViews
Top Critic

Beguiling and surprising.

April 14, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic

A woman (Fanny Ardant) hires a prostitute (Emmanuelle Béart) to seduce her unfaithful husband (Gérard Depardieu) in Anne Fontaine's seductive and intriguing film.

April 13, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Nathalie is intricate, provocative, cleanly acted, but it's never entirely convincing -- and never more so than in the table-turning climax.

Full Review… | April 11, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Nathalie

"nathalie" is the original french movie of "chloe" which gets released just few months ago in america. thus i have to watch "nathalie" to judge whether the remake is a pure parody or not. fortunately, the remake, in this case, isn't really inferior to the original at all. (i do give the original a chance)...and i'm glad that hollywood producer hasn't run out of its ideas by completely copying the original, they create something totally different of their own. SPOILERS! whether it's nathalie or chloe, the basic structure of the plots is the same: a woman doctor suspects her husband cheating on her because he doesn't show up at his birthday party the wife has planned for months. and the paranoid wife hires a professional hooker to seduce the husband just to test his loyalty. the more details the hooker reveals about bedroom affairs, the closer these two women. eventually there's some undercurrent romantic passion developing to unite these two women as something approximately like lovers. then suddenly the wife discovers whatever the hooker has confided is a lie: her husband never even cheats...the wife falls in love all over again with the husband? so how's hooker? what shall she do? the difference between the original and the remake is: the former is a comedy; the latter is a tragedy. emmanuelle beart, who plays the hooker, seems to put on a defiant sass. she's absolutely confident and her purpose is to entice the wife into mischievous game which she enjoys more and more. as for the lesbianism element, i don't think french nathalie is lesbianistic at all! and it's more like some inneundo to suggest these two women have some tender chemistry mellowing into somehow ambiguous sisterhood. by comparison, the wife seems to take delight at the details of her husband's affairs with the hooker. and she even secretly mocks him by ordering the wine he hates (but the hooker loves) for him. like an esoteric code of intimacy between her and the hooker. as i was writing along a paper about comic catharsis, and nathalie fits the profile..let i quote one passage from my school paper: Comedy has to pamper its feast on imagination to the extent of ridicule, but it still has a sense of universality within the plots to induce its own comic catharsis from the audience, as Kitano emphasizes: "the ridiculous in comedy which contains a universal plot arouses in the audience the purified emotion of the same name that does not have the painful element of envy" (Kitano 7). In other words, comic catharsis is "purification of emotion from the envy" that is brought forth by the blend of pain and pleasure altogether, in the same time, it is also antithetical to tragedy, which seeks its mimetic catharsis of fear and pity, because "the kind of pleasure at which comedy aims, by contrast, is achieved if enemies are reconciled and nobody is killed by anybody" two crucial points would be: the purification of envy and the reconciliation between foes...so here's nathalie. the wife hires the hooker out of envy for husband's affair, and at last her envy dissolves and gets purified when she finds herself being made as a fool. but the ending has been resymbolized into order: she and her husband reconcile. and the hooker silently lets herself out of the wife's life with a gentle kiss on her cheek. comedy. "nathalie" is something light and mild to give you a pleasant witty smile. very subtly understated. (maybe because the director is a woman? french art-house chic flick?) but "chloe" is different case, and there's nothing resembling the original except the basic plots..

Veronique Kwak
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

A brilliantly sexy and mature film that tackles relationships. It delves into our chracters minds and their wants as well as examining trust and sensuality. Fantastic overall with perfect performances especially from the hypnotic Beart.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

½

[font=Century Gothic]In "Nathalie", Bernard(Gerard Depardieu), a businessman, and Catherine(Fanny Ardant), a gynecologist, have been married for decades and have a grown son but their marriage has grown stale. They communicate little and have sex much less often. To make matters worse, Bernard has been unfaithful. To make matters even worse, it was with more than one woman. Distressed, Catherine wanders into a brothel one night and hires one of the working women, Marlene(Emmanuelle Beart), to go undercover to see what her husband is thinking. [/font] [font=Century Gothic]Marlene makes contact but reports that she has exceeded her mandate by having sex with Bernard...[/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Nathalie" has an interesting idea that plays out well at first in a nicely erotic way, and does not thankfully become a cliched thriller. And it explores the notion that men and women need to communicate to each other but it misses a valuable chance to fully explore women's role in society. Also, the movie eventually turns plodding and the conclusion is most unsatisfying. Like Anne Fontaine's previous feature, "How I Killed My Father", the editing leaves something to be desired.(For example, why does it take so long to establish Catherine's profession?) The movie wastes a very fine cast and an excellent performance from Fanny Ardant as the wronged women. [/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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