Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (24)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (22)
| Rotten (2)
| DVD (2)
Francois Truffaut's "The Soft Skin" is being revived at the very moment when it seems uncannily prophetic
François Truffaut's fourth feature, The Soft Skin, has never gotten much respect -- even though many people (myself included) regard it as one of his best.
Truffaut does show that he can make a solidly carpentered film like anybody else.
[A] steely 1964 study in the cruel mechanics of illicit love.
It's a curiously crude and hackneyed drama to come from Mr. Truffaut, but this way of using his actors and working his camera is up to his style.
Not a total success perhaps, but still a striking and sensitive effort.
Truffaut's tale of adultery may be conventional on the surface, but only on the surface.
It's the work of a director operating at the height of his powers, and figuring out where he wanted to take his career after that first flash of inspiration.
Truffaut has directed the film more like a thriller than a melodrama...
One of Truffaut's least successful, most derivative films.
A mesmerizing morality play detailing the machinations of adultery and their deadly consequences.
It's stunningly assured, suspenseful, emotionally truthful and tough.
"The Soft Skin" is a beautifully shot tragedy, featuring nuanced performances from Jean Desailly and Françoise Dorléac plus Georges Delerue's exquisite score (melancholy flute everywhere). But did such a simple story really need to be stretched to 113 minutes? This film could have been 20 minutes shorter, easy.
Desailly plays a celebrity author who's much in demand on the lecture circuit. He has a wife and a young daughter. He meets stewardess Dorleac during a flight to Lisbon. They begin a loving affair, but we know it's only a matter of time before his wife finds out and raises a ruckus.
Really, that's just about the whole plot. "The Soft Skin" has only three substantial characters and a standard story, yet somehow it extends to nearly two hours. Blame this on too many belabored depictions of eating, drinking, driving, phone calls, hotel check-ins and trivial conversation. And yet despite the leisurely pace, the script communicates almost nothing about why the lovers are so drawn to each other. We know that he's famous and she's gorgeous, and that such surface traits could create a mutual attraction. Anything else?
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