Special Treatment


Special Treatment

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 17


Audience Score

User Ratings: 172
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Movie Info

In this darkly erotic drama from cult filmmaker Jeanne Labrune, Isabelle Huppert stars as a high-class prostitute named Alice who serves up sexual fantasies for her clientele, from schoolgirl innocence to S&M. Fed up with the seamy underbelly of French masculinity, Alice crosses paths with Xavier, a neurotic psychoanalyst facing a marriage crisis. The two quickly realize their professions share a thing or two in common as they navigate the overlapping worlds of psychotherapy and sex therapy. -- (C) First Run Features

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Isabelle Huppert
as Alice Bergerac
Bouli Lanners
as Xavier Demestre
Richard Debuisne
as Pierre Cassagne
Valerie Dreville
as Hélène Demestre
Mathieu Carriere
as Robert Masse
Didier Bezace
as Happy and Sad Man
Frederic Longbois
as Transvestite
Christophe Odent
as Pipe Collector
Jean-François Wolff
as Pedophile Customer
Gilles Cohen
as Elegant Sportsman
Frédéric Pierrot
as François Briand
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Critic Reviews for Special Treatment

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (8)

Audience Reviews for Special Treatment

  • Jun 01, 2012
    A thoughtful character study of an aging, high-class prostitute and her reluctant client, a therapist having some marital difficulty. Isabelle Huppert and Bouli Lanners play the two damaged souls who help each other without making any conscious effort to do so. This is a quiet film, without much action and very little skin showing for such a dark subject. The dialog is subdued, but powerful and Ms Huppert is marvelous in her role. The camera work was exquisite, using soft focus and playing with depth of field to keep the viewer engaged at the most pivotal moments. This one grew on me as it progressed.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2011
    I am glad I took a friends advice and waited for DVD on this one. I think in a cinema for an hour and a half, this would have been a snore. Quite an achievement for a movie about a hooker played by Isabelle Huppert! This is more like a small slice of her daily life than any big story or plot happening. It just ambles along. There's some of her work with clients (I found the costumes more interesting than anything going on here. Isabelle is still beautiful and compelling onscreen), and the implication that her friend is something more, but it never really goes there either. The main story is that she is tired of hooking and wants to quit. Whether she does or not is up in the air, but I got the impression she did. It's not horrible, but there is really not much of anything going on in this movie. A bit disappointing. Strictly for fans of Isabelle!
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2011
    In "Special Treatment," Xavier(Bouli Lanners), a psychoanalyst, and Alice(Isabelle Huppert), a prostitute, walk into a medical supplies store. Xavier is enjoying the material rewards from his practice. Maybe a little too much for his wife Helene(Valerie Dreville) as she kicks him out of their apartment, not liking his attitude one bit. Alice has her eye on an antique chandelier while her friend and colleague, Juliette(Sabila Moussadek), is troubled by the kind of clients her friend brings in. Alice thinks she might be right as she is considering professional treatment, not just retail therapy. "Special Treatment" wastes a potentially provocative set up and only succeeds as well it does mostly by the talent and fearlessness of Isabelle Huppert. A lot of that comes down to less a failure of nerve than sheer indecision by the filmmakers. At first, it seems the movie might be a veiled critique of psychoanalysis by comparing it to prostitution by saying that all everybody needs is a good lay.(Or one could argue if one does something solely for money, then that makes you a prostitute.) But the movie sadly never follows through on that or a fascinating structure that eventually asserts itself before abandoning that to chase down another subplot to explore. In the end, it is about nothing more interesting than a pair of mid-life crises. I guess what comes around goes around.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 23, 2011
    it's one of those european movies that specialize in making a seemingly provocative story into a mediocre sleeper which lacks any climax. (pardon, i'm mundane, and i need dramatizations to spice it up) a self-claimed 43 year-old high-class prostitute who is an expert in role-playing sex-games meets a jaded therapist who encounters a series of depressions in his life. then the man books a series of services from this woman, but he cannot decide what he really wants, what position, what kind of scenario within their sexual dallidances, or even whether he really wants to get laid or not! bascially half of the movie is spent on how the therapist doesn't wish to get laid while the woman considers to get herself another kind of profession. in a brief, they both are tired of putting themselves away to comply the needs of others. and there's no romance, no affair but several ordinary conversations about their impasse of life. does that suggest that people of extraordinary professions are actually quite ordinary by private? audience follows those trivial daily details of their lives, then all of a sudden, the movie ends just like that. so the man gets his wife back, and the woman finds a job as an art-collector. the camera lingers over her face while she takes a sip of her coffee (so "interesting"?!) this movie is designed to fail your expectation, pre-programmed to be anti-climaxical! the only amusing eposide is the part isabelle huppert dresses as a 14-year-old school girl to please her client who has troubles with erection. that episode does have a dry sense of humor. the rest of movie is quite a bore! i do wanna say, even this movie is quite a piece of tedium, (you would definitely not be entertained for it!), at least, it is honest and real. totally the opposite to the stories of chuck palahniuk, whose characters have no ounce of realism in them. "special treatment" is glued heavily to the real conditions of human frailty without dramatization or exaggerations by giving it some excessively oddball story-developments. that's one thing i must say no matter how un-entertained i have been! who says i want realism?! i want magic! (blanchet from streetcar named desire)
    Veronique K Super Reviewer

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