Critics Consensus

Patrice Chéreau's exquisite rendering of Joseph Conrad's The Return brings underlying passions to surface in a long-suffering marriage.



Total Count: 54


Audience Score

User Ratings: 16,677
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Gabrielle Photos

Movie Info

The events that overwhelm a middle-aged, seemingly happily married couple. The arrogant, bourgeois M. Hervey descends from a train into the teeming bustle of the city. While on his way home, he reflects on the sturdiness of his life: the success he has made of it, and the fortress of security he has built around himself. It is not long before his self-satisfaction is rudely shattered when he discovers a letter from his wife, Gabrielle, waiting for him on his sideboard. The contents of the message will crumble that security and plunge him into newfound feelings of vulnerability, abandonment and betrayal. Husband and wife find themselves engaged in a parry-and-thrust of emotions that change mid-sentence and stretch their ability to function and live in the same house.


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Critic Reviews for Gabrielle

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (14)

  • Although it is possible that French actress Isabelle Huppert makes the occasional false move, she does not make them in front of a camera.

    Nov 17, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
  • This is a careful and cinematic adaptation that rings with painful truth.

    Nov 16, 2006 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • For the most part, [Chereau] lets Huppert and Greggory provide the emotional impact. They respond accordingly, imbuing their mutual suffering with an exacting and moving finesse.

    Sep 28, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Chereau matches Conrad's insistence on psychological accuracy, burrowing through the protective layers of self-delusion that hold so many human relationships together.

    Sep 15, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Husband and wife, upper-class couple Jean and Gabrielle Hervey, are played, to perfection, by two of France's premier film actors: Pascal Greggory and Isabelle Huppert.

    Sep 7, 2006 | Rating: 4/4
  • Greggory is up to that journey, revealing the character in his various colors, and Huppert is at her usual best, subtle, emotionally full, focused and honest.

    Aug 25, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gabrielle

  • Jan 13, 2010
    This one finally popped up as being available on DVD a couple of years ago so I finally tracked it down. Was disappointed. It wasn't compelling enough compared to other period pieces.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 12, 2007
    Collapsing marriage melodrama is too talky to enjoy.
    William G Super Reviewer
  • Aug 13, 2006
    [font=Century Gothic]In "Gabrielle", Jean(Pascal Greggory) is a wealthy businessman who has been married to Gabrielle(Isabelle Huppert) for the past ten years. Together they host a literary salon every Thursday, that is much respected. One Wednesday, soon after returning home from work, Jean reads a note from his wife, informing him that she has left him for another man.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]But Gabrielle soon returns. And everybody lives happily ever after, right?[/font] [font=Century Gothic]With "Gabrielle", director Patrice Chereau pulls out all the stops in telling this devastatingly powerful tale of marriage which is based on "The Return" by Joseph Conrad. In the brief time we spend with Gabrielle and Jean, we get a very good idea of what their marriage is like...and it isn't pretty, starting with Jean considering Gabrielle little more than a possession and a key to the perfect life he imagines for himself. But how does she feel about the situation? Isabelle Huppert gives another great, fearless performance and Pascal Greggory keeps pace with her. [/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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