The Unfaithful Wife

Critics Consensus

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80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 5

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,173
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Movie Info

Charles Desvallées (Michel Bouquet), a successful insurance broker, employs a private investigator on suspicion that his wife, Hélène (Stéphane Audran), is cheating on him. After acquiring evidence of his wife's infidelity, Charles confronts and murders Hélène's lover, Victor Pégala (Maurice Ronet). When the police question the married couple about their connection to the murdered man, both Hélène and Charles continue their perilous dance of deception.

Cast & Crew

Stéphane Audran
Hélène Desvallées
Michel Bouquet
Charles Desvallées
Maurice Ronet
Victor Pegala
Michel Duchaussoy
Police Officer Duval
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Critic Reviews for The Unfaithful Wife (La femme infidèle)

All Critics (5) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for The Unfaithful Wife (La femme infidèle)

  • Aug 27, 2014
    Remade three times, one of them being the more famous Adrian Lyne's <i>Unfaithful</i> (2002), Chabrol tells the story about a bored wife who cheats on her husband, as indicated by the title. Her husband is suspicious and hires a Private Investigator to confirm his own thoughts and the whereabouts of his wife. Yup, that's it. Now this is the part where I convince you to watch the film. 1) It was about bloody time that Chabrol, a renowned Hitchcock fan, made a thriller. His past projects were asphyxiating in terms of bleakness, so his style making a transition to a crime story with a creepy musical score, a femme-fatale remnant and suspenseful sequences was maybe the most logical step. He casts Stéphane Audran once again, this time as the sophisticated and sexy wife with a killer look, vicious intentions, and yet with her facet of being a caring mother while she's in home. 2) Mentioned already, Hitchcock's influence is here. It was present since <i>Le Beau Serge</i> (1958), Chabrol's dark tribute. As is the case of Hitchcock, the power of this thriller comes from its cinematograohic language: the impact of silences, the attention to detail, the slow sequences creating suspense, the tense conversations between characters, and the contrast between this macabre environment and the more benign domestic family life. This contrast is put to great effect through Chabrol's lens. 3) I'm 95% sure that Chabrol knew this was a very simple and common story, even by the 60s standards. So not only the execution had to justify its simplicity, but also the resolution. I'll stop here for the sake of the enjoyment of others. Making thrillers is an art, just like any other genre, and this movie proves it. Whether the final result is to redefine the genre, or simply to replicate it with style and provide a great entertainment value, a good crime film is a good crime film. I rest my case. 83/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 16, 2008
    Without giving too much away, "La Femme Infidèle" is a murder story bookended by two phases of suspicion: a husband's (Michel Bouquet) questioning of his wife's fidelity, and the wife's (Stéphane Audran) realisation that her husband may have committed a crime of passion. What makes the film so special is the novel concept of murder as a declaration of love, an act of savagery capable of bringing two people closer together rather than blasting them apart: extreme marriage therapy, if you will! The other thing that Chabrol does very well here is to deglamourise the act of murder itself, portraying it as an ugly, sordid business, fraught with complications. Curiously, this generally sombre film lightens considerably when events take a drastic turn, and a healthy dose of darkly comic Hitchcockian suspense is introduced. A brilliant little movie.
    Stephen M Super Reviewer
  • May 26, 2005
    [font=Century Gothic][color=indigo]"Secret Honor" is a one-man film directed by Robert Altman featuring Philip Baker Hall as a post-disgrace Richard Nixon in full drunken, venomous rage, dictating his memoirs. Therein, lies the problem with this movie - there is not a lot of subtletly and nuance here which does not allow for much insight into his character. Despite this negative portrayal, I felt this movie let Nixon off the hook somewhat. He comes off as somewhat tragic instead of the monster I imagine he was. It does not help matters that "Secret Honor" reminds me of a lesser Twilight Zone episode; you know one where the evil old man has to face the sins of his long life. Hall is excellent as Nixon but I still prefer Dan Hedaya's performance in "Dick."(Note: "Secret Honor" might make for an interesting but none too enjoyable double feature with "The Assassination of Richard Nixon.")[/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=navy]"The Unfaithful Wife" is another straightforward piece of suspense from Claude Chabrol. This one is about a wealthy businessman(Michel Bouquet) who imagines that his beautiful wife(Stephane Audran) is having an affair. He hires an investigator for proof and goes to see the other man.(Like Chabrol's "L'Enfer", I am curious to know what makes the husband suspicious of his wife. And is it love or possessiveness that drives his actions?) This movie differs from some of Chabrol's other films in that it is a little trickier than most. Plus, there is much that is left unsaid and is left inferred.("The Unfaithful Wife" was remade a few years ago in English as "Unfaithful" starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere which I have not seen.) [/color][/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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