Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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An unsympathetic tale about a woman suffering a mental health crisis; the title itself is an accusation. Nathalie has a breakdown following her husband's departure and marriage to a younger woman. She risks becoming an outcast - a profound disgrace for this respectable bourgeois mother and professional. She falls into a pattern of saying blunt and upsetting things to the people around her - the jealousy of the title. She criticises her teenage daughter's youth, beauty and social life; she interferes in her best friend's marriage; she rages at the initiatives of a smart (younger) new teacher at the school where Nathalie teaches. There is usually an element of truth in what she says - truths that her family and friends don't want to hear; though the film ends up simply calling these her "errors". Hormones appear to be the cause of Nathalie's problem: the film stops short, but not far short, of openly advertising medical treatments for pre-menopause, possibly lasting for years. It would have been appropriate to write the character older, because the pre-menopause theme was needlessly unflattering to lead actor Viard. Perhaps the truth of the story was secondary to pharmaceutical promotion: it is common for French films to promote national industries. The film delivers a series of pitiless, semi-humorous or embarrassing scenes of Nathalie's social faux pas, while the other characters are irritatingly self-righteous and pure. The overriding value here is conformity with social norms of behaviour, or else. Somehow, Nathalie gets through her troubles - she swims, does yoga, makes a kind friend, starts apologising profusely to everyone, yet we don't see how she achieves this within her own mind and emotions. She just pulls herself up by her bootstraps. This film is not the sharp psychological comedy/drama that it promised to be. Nor is it feminist, despite its female focus. It's more of a rather ageist, blunt and nasty lesson for people and especially for women in Nathalie's situation - shape up or ship out.