Maelstrom (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

Maelstrom (2000)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Maelstrom Photos

Movie Info

Love, death, and fish all mingle in this offbeat comedy-drama from award-winning Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve. Bibiane Champagne (Marie-Josee Croze) is the daughter of a well-known fashion designer who dabbles in modeling when she's not busy helping to run the family business with her brother Phillippe (Bobby Beshro). But Bibiane has not been especially happy in her work lately, owing in part to an unexpected pregnancy that led her to have an abortion. Bibiane tries drowning her sorrows in alcohol and drugs, and late one night, after several drinks too many, she hits a jaywalker while driving home. The pedestrian staggers away after the accident, and the next morning, Bibiane remembers what happened and is frightened at the prospect that she may have killed someone. When Bibiane reads a newspaper account the next day of a seafood delivery man who died in his kitchen after being struck by a hit-and-run driver, she's convinced she was responsible for the crime. Guiltily attending the man's funeral, Bibiane strikes up a conversation with his son, Evian (Jean-Nicholas Verreault), and soon the two have become romantically involved, with Bibiane unable to tell Evian her secret. Maelstrom was shown in competition at both the Montreal World Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival in 2000. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Marie-Josée Croze
as Bibiane Champagne
Stephanie Morgenstern
as Claire Gunderson
Pierre Lebeau
as The Fish
Marc Gelinas
as Stranger in Subway
Marie-France Lambert
as Marie-Jeanne Sirois
Sylvie Moreau
as Photographer
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Maelstrom

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (12)

Strange it is, but delightfully so.

August 1, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/4
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Darkly funny and frequently insightful.

June 6, 2002 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

An original little film about one young woman's education.

May 10, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

This is a nervy, risky film, and Villeneuve has inspired Croze to give herself over completely to the tormented persona of Bibi.

April 5, 2002 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Maelstrom is strange and compelling, engrossing and different, a moral tale with a twisted sense of humor.

March 29, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Sensual, funny and, in the end, very touching.

March 22, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Maelstrom



Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

As narrated by a fish with its head on the chopping block, "Maelstrom" starts with Bibi(Marie-Josee Croze) having an abortion. Afterwards, her best friend Claire(Stephanie Morgenstern) cares for her while she prays at the porcelain temple. Bibi's work life is not that much better as the Montreal boutique she owns with her partner Philippe(Bobby Beshro) has been having its share of thefts, causing them to hire security guards. That's not to mention the large amount of money she owes. And if you think she is having a bad day, imagine that of the guy(Klimbo) she hits with her car on the way home from a bar. A short time ago, I mentioned that "Rubber" was the oddest movie I had seen in quite a while. That probably has something to do with the lack of Canadian movies I have seen lately. Because "Maelstrom" has it all, including occasional intertitles, a diverse musical score that leans Scandinavian, and a complex chronal storyline which adds perspective. All of which is not as heavy as it sounds. At first, I was prepared to connect Denis Villeneuve's more recent feature "Incendies" to "Maelstrom" through a common theme of how all life is sacred. However, the truth could not be any more different, as the movie is edgily profound in how it states we are all part of the same cycle of life and death, so relax. Notice for example, how matter of factly the abortion scene is filmed, without any judgment, no less. That fits in well with the movie's intelligent thoughts on guilt and forgiveness, as Bibi has a hard time getting completely clean.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Great creative effort by Denis Villeneuve who has grown steadily since undertaking this picture. Not everyone can pull off narration from a fish on the chopping block.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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