Special Treatment - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Special Treatment Reviews

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March 22, 2014
Undoubtedly, Isabelle Huppert in cosplay caught my eyes first. The film is so loose (the later the more) plus humdrum however.
½ August 1, 2013
Dark and slowly-paced, this film may not be for everyone. However, if human psychology and sexuality are of interest, this may satisfy. The fate of an aging prostitute and Psychoanalyst intersect as both have grown weary of their professions and respective personal lives. The beauty of this film is not in the correlation of their two jobs but in the quiet performances by the two actors.

Huppert is a brilliant actress. She has always been attracted to roles filled with transgressive turns, and that is sometimes tiring. However, in this film she taps into her gift for tapping into stark realism which is both tragic and hopeful.

Half the joy of this film is pleasure of watching an uncompromising actress and trying to figure out what is running through the mind of the character. The other half of the enjoyment is the manner in which Labrune presents the characters via glimpses versus any lengthy exposition or dialog.

This is no cinematic masterwork, but it is a finely tuned character study. I love great performances and Huppert does not disappoint.

As a quick note to potential viewers: The US marketing for this movie is misleading. I did not find this to be an erotic film. It is a film about sexuality, but is far more "neurotic" than "erotic."
Super Reviewer
June 1, 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.
Super Reviewer
December 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!
½ November 29, 2011
scenario assez space
rendu pas terrible malgre les bonnes interpretations d'huppert et bouli lanners
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
September 5, 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.
½ August 23, 2011
"Darkly erotic"? That's not what I saw.
July 31, 2011
"Sans queue ni tête" (admirez le jeu de mot!) ou la fable du psychanalyste et de la prostituee. Or donc, les prostituees sont des femmes comme les autres (on le savait dejà) et les psychanalystes tendance parigo-freudienne, dans un certain sens, sont des putes (on le soupçonnait aussi). Le sujet se voudrait grave et profond mais son traitement est celui d'une comedie franchouillarde (mêmes situations rocambolesques, même type d'humour un peu graveleux). Et malgre des acteurs qui y croient, le film ballote tellement entre un ton badin qui mets mal à l'aise et une volonte d'interpeller qui reste sans consistance à force de s'eparpiller, qu'il finit par amplement meriter son titre !
dietmountaindew
Super Reviewer
July 28, 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)
July 20, 2011
Isabelle Huppert stars as a prostitute showing her age (but still looking gorgeous) who meets a psychoanalyst as detached from his clients as she is from hers.
As the film develops, both halves seem interchangeable until Huppert meets a doctor who deals with people who really do have problems and who doesn't want her money.
One day she finally realises she has the strength to move on, the power to change and the confidence to do it.
It's a simple tale really and well told.
I've seen a number of fairly bad reviews for this film, but I really think they've missed the point.
½ July 17, 2011
There is a turning point in this film, when Alice (Isabelle Huppert), trying to get a rise (literally) from her wannabe client Xavier (Bouli Lanners ). "Aren't you sick of this bullshit?" he asks, to which she responds, "Isn't what you do bullshit too?"

And so we knew form the start of the film, as she prepared for her clients and he for his - both of them have become lost in being there for others; neither of them are sure who they are anymore. Both only know that they want something different.

As women are more in touch with their emotions here, Alice is aware of her need to move on; Xavier is made aware of the need by his wife (Valerie Dreville) calling him upon the disconnects in his life by asking him to leave hers.

Let me say here and now - I'm no fan of French films. I laughed out loud when a friend posted in her status update "Looking to see a French film - any recommendations?" and another friend of hers suggested "Seek help". They can feel ponderous and as emotionally restrained as their cousins across the channel whilst giving in to the carnal with much more relish.

It's all about the characters, another friend warned me. And yes, this unfurled slowly, a puzzle that the film-maker allows you, the viewer to put together. On this occasion, I found it deeply rewarding.

The scene I mentioned above is prefaced by Alice striding to her appointment, as any sex worker would recognise, getting fully into the character of the moment as she assumes the power in their appointment. Called upon the artifice by Xavier, a psychoanalyst who appears to be able to, if not see through, at least sit through the problems of others, she leaves the appointment tottering in the most fragile of ways.

Alice is tough; but no 'prostitute with a heart of gold' stock character here. We are allowed to laugh at the foibles of her marks/mugs/johns, but never at Alice. We worry for her as her friend does, dealing with potential 'nutjobs' on her own, Trying to set up an appointment with another analyst, we learn that Alice fears she does not have the strength to leave the profession she fell into.

But the analyst - tough and ethical as he is - sees what we see. Alice has the strength, she just needs to opportunity. And so, at its best, this movie holds the same up to us. We may feel that some situations we are in are full of bullshit. We may fear that we don't have the strength to leave the. But we do really and we will smile as she does when we find ourselves again afterwards.
May 18, 2011
Special Treatment, is not a movie that is really dealing with anything new in terms of a storyline, more this is sort of one of those quintessential French films that deals with questions of life, happiness, connection, hope and the like, in that way that you know you are watching a French film.

Isabelle Huppert is fun to watch as the high-class sex trade worker (and given her age, it is good to see that directors still think women of a certain age can pull off such roles), and while I did like the ideas of her questioning her profession and life, and coming into contact with a psychoanalyst that is her exact opposite on the outside but seeemingly desired more of what her life was like on the inside..... it just was never something that rose much beyond what I have seen before.

The "sex" scenes are pretty tame given the different situations that some of the clients desired in their avenues of release, and that to was something that left me a bit off put about this film. It was a bit to.... generic for my liking for the ideas it was trying to speak to.

Still, a good rental for a rainy Sunday afternoon for those whom like a bit of thought in their movie watching. But definitely not one for the kids (unless your ready to do a whole lot of explaining about humans needs and desires)
½ March 30, 2011
I enjoy seeing thetherapeutic element to each other in the 2 sessions between the prostitute and the psychoanalyst, while the former on the issue of meeting other's needs and the latter on the issue of being regarded. A good teaching material for therapist, especially not the behaviorist.
March 30, 2011
I don't think I get this film at all :(
February 24, 2011
Too hard to concentrate, too hard to understand.
½ December 4, 2010
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I blame my cat for that who wakes me up at 6 am every fucking day.
November 3, 2010
The emphasis on role play allows Huppert one of her lighter recent 90 minutes - no-one gets too hurt - and the opportunity to raid the dressing-up box between scenes: her job, her role makes this a rare chance to see the actress in the guise of an Asian schoolgirl, a platinum-blonde dominatrix, and a meek 50s housewife, as well as in the more mundance capacity of a well-appointed middle-aged woman who, when she comes down to the earth from her hotel suites, doesn't really know where she is... I'm not sure where all this gameplaying gets us in the end, beyond up the garden path and down the rabbit hole (the heroine's name may not be entirely coincidental) in some style; stylish it is, though, along with keen-eyed when it comes to its characters' foibles and hypocrisies. A tart entertainment, in every sense of the word.
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