La Peau douce (The Soft Skin) (1964)


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Movie Info

Francois Truffaut directed this simple tale of revenge and adultery which features an exceptional musical score by Georges Delerue. The story concerns a love affair between successful literary magazine editor Pierre Lachenay (Jean Desailly) and alluring airline stewardess, Nicole Chomette (Francoise Dorleac). They meet on a flight to Lisbon, where Pierre is scheduled to deliver a lecture. When he returns to Paris, they continue their affair, but find it is difficult to set up their clandestine trysts, so Pierre arranges a lecture trip to Riems, where they can be together. In Riems however, Pierre finds it difficult to keep the affair a secret from his lecture sponsors. Upon his return to Paris, his wife Franca (Nelly Benedetti), suspicious her husband is having an affair, quarrels with Pierre, who leaves her and asks Nicole to marry him. Nicole refuses his proposition and Pierre attempts to reconcile with his wife. But Nelly, with a gun in her bag, is en route to surprise Pierre at his favorite restaurant for a final confrontation. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

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Jean Desailly
as Pierre Lachenay
Françoise Dorléac
as Nicole Chomette
Nelly Benedetti
as Franca Lachenay
as Organizer at Lisbon
Georges de Givray
as Nicole's Father
Catherine Duport
as Young Girl at Rheims
Mme. Harlaut
as Mme. Leloix
Charles Lavialle
as Night Porter at Hotel Michelet
Olivia Poli
as Mme. Bontemps
Jean-Louis Richard
as Man in Street
Brigitte Zhendre-Laforest
as Linen Delivery Woman
Philippe Dumat
as Reims Cinema Manager
Dominique Lacarriere
as Pierre's Secretary
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News & Interviews for La Peau douce (The Soft Skin)

Critic Reviews for La Peau douce (The Soft Skin)

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6)

Francois Truffaut's "The Soft Skin" is being revived at the very moment when it seems uncannily prophetic

May 26, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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.

Mar 8, 2011 | Full Review…

Truffaut does show that he can make a solidly carpentered film like anybody else.

Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Top Critic

[A] steely 1964 study in the cruel mechanics of illicit love.

Jun 24, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Not a total success perhaps, but still a striking and sensitive effort.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for La Peau douce (The Soft Skin)

"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?

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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