The Color of Lies (Au coeur du mensonge) (1999)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This thriller from veteran director Claude Chabrol is a tense suspense drama, leavened with sly humor, about the fallout from a shocking crime in a small town. Frederique Lesage (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi), the new chief of police in a cozy and fashionable seaside community in Brittany, soon finds her job more eventful than she expected when a ten-year-old girl is found raped and murdered. The last person to see her alive was René Sterne (Jacques Gamblin), a cynical and once-famous artist who has fallen on hard times and gives drawing lessons to children to make ends meet. René, who is passionately devoted to his wife (Sandrine Bonnaire), a nurse whose perpetual good cheer is the polar opposite of his personality, quickly becomes the prime suspect in the absence of any real clues. Meanwhile, Frederique becomes better acquainted with the eccentric residents of the town, including a self-important TV journalist (Antoine de Caunes), a small-time crook who fences stolen goods (Pierre Marlot), and a curious pair of married shopkeepers (Bulle Ogier and Noel Simsolo). Chabrol's son Matthieu Chabrol composed the score for this film.
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MK2 Productions


Sandrine Bonnaire
as Vivianne Sterne
Jacques Gamblin
as Rene Sterne
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
as Frederique Lesage
Antoine de Caunes
as Germain-Roland Desmot
Bernard Verley
as Inspecteur Loudun
Bulle Ogier
as Yvelyne Bordier
Pierre Martot
as Regis Marchal
Noel Simsolo
as Monsieur Bordier
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Color of Lies (Au coeur du mensonge)

All Critics (4)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 5, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's a well-executed but not that exciting psychological thriller in Brittany.

Full Review… | February 10, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

No excerpt available.

November 13, 2006

You may be shocked at yourself for simply not caring who killed the little girl by the end, but that's the effect the movie will have.

Full Review… | September 27, 2005
Now Playing Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Color of Lies (Au coeur du mensonge)

Claude Chabrol was both an amazing and puzzling filmmaker. Though, it seems he went through a bit of a dry spell, he started making highly relevant films again starting in the 1990's through the end of his life. I had forgotten how highly entertaining and interesting this film was until I revisited it again on blu-ray. Just as when I saw it upon its release to US cinemas, it makes me scratch my head. This is not so much a murder mystery as it is a surprisingly fast-paced study of the human condition under crisis. From the very start to the bitter end, the viewer is hooked. Although, he would go on to make better films that fall into this category [ Merci Pour Le Choclat and La Ceremonie come to mind ] -- there is something particularly interesting about this film. Perhaps it seems to "set us up" for a crime caper but delivers something entirely different by the time we arrive to the end. In my opinion, this is very close to a perfectly made film.

Matty Stanfield
Matty Stanfield

An underwhelming plot is really made more than it appears by the excellent performance of the main cast. Sandrine Bonnaire, excellent in her polar fragilities and unforeseen complexities in her portrayed character, develops her role beyond the confines of the plot, and at the end leaves you thinking much more than you'd have expected from a fairly simplistic whodunit (which itself pans out in a boring, unsatisfying finish). See it for the husband-wife-lover dynamic, the human tension that Chabrol is/was much better at exploring when he wasn't trying to do his crime drama.

Arin D
Arin D

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Color of Lies (Au coeur du mensonge) on our Movie forum!

News & Features