The Woman in the Fifth - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Woman in the Fifth Reviews

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½ September 8, 2016
"The Woman in the Fifth's" leading character clearly struggles in the deciphering of the lines that separate fantasy and reality, but to untangle the mess that is his psyche is a bore I'd rather not stress myself out with extricating. Because the film, written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, is the sort of pretentious art house dreck that gives so much weight to that godforsakenly overused cinematic device better known as ambiguity that forgotten is the more intriguing mood enhancer better known as intrigue. It's a low-rent version of "The Tenant," only the horrors aren't so cutting and Pawlikowski, unlike Roman Polanski, is too indirect, too flighty, to ensure that his mysteries provoke instead of tire.
In the movie, Ethan Hawke stars as Tom Ricks, an American novelist who may as well be the living embodiment of a person down on their luck. Though supposedly recovered from a mental illness that took away the stability of the last few years, he's otherwise psychologically floating and severely depressed. When we first meet him, he's just moved to Paris to be closer to his ex-wife (Delphine Chuillot), who despises him, and their elementary-aged daughter, who's in the dark regarding why she hasn't seen her father in so long. The jump to France is his only hope to reconnect with the family he's lost touch with, but days into his stay does he find that not a fragment of hope lingers in the air.
Broke and desperate, he takes a night guard job at a seedy hostel, which pays decently for an occupation that requires him to do so little. It's ideal for a man of his caliber (his only task is to push a button to let people through one of the building's covert entrances), and the possibility of having ample time to write could potentially help him piece his life back together.
But things begin taking bizarre - and growingly unsettling - turns when he starts having an affair with an elegant widow (Kristin Scott Thomas). Only willing to meet at five pm twice a week in her chic apartment, with no questions to be asked about her personal life, the woman gives as much new meaning to Tom's existence as it brings inexplicable tragedy. Whether she's a figment of his imagination seems highly likely - her manner of speech, her enigmatic actions, seem staged, planned - but to declare if such a conclusion is based in fact would spoil the fun of "The Woman in the Fifth."
Or maybe it wouldn't, since the film is decidedly lacking in charge and is cryptic to the point of being baffling. Though Hawke's performance is skillful, delicately sympathetic and noticeably affected by something unknown, little else about the film is as easy to grasp as what Tom might be feeling at this particularly hard time in his life. The titular force of glamour is sketched too thinly to provide any sort of emotional attachment (but the lithe Scott Thomas is a sensation no matter the role), and the movie's storyline, either characterized as a character study or a horror film (?), is always swimming, never to be made compelling.
Obvious is Pawlikowski's dedication to earlier pictures immersed in their focusing on a character's going insane - we can see shades of "Repulsion" and "Hour of the Wolf" here, however watered down they are - but he's too reliant on understated metaphors, on unseeable hidden meanings, to inspire any kind of reaction from even the most dedicated of a viewer. Its eighty minutes drag until we've concluded that it claws its way to the finish line rather than passing an interesting breaking point.
June 22, 2016
A very effective film and Ethan Hawke is great (as always!)

With original and tense cinematography and a good dose of unpredictability and off beat story telling, The Woman in the Fifth is an entertaining and memorable film.
January 19, 2016
the let down was in the last 10-15 minutes of the movie, when it felt rushed with the big reveal --but can we actually fault anyone since its given us another view of Paris that's not so glamorous, yet equally arresting and mesmerizing ? Does anyone not dream about having an affair as such in the City of Light? I do.
November 16, 2015
slow moving ..but classical style, makes you anticipate more and more.
Ethan Hawke gives a totally different performance..he totally changed his style to fit this sort of weird role
June 1, 2015
another Ethan Hawke weird movie
May 16, 2015
Interesting, strange movie
February 28, 2015
Chopped up script and a lot of it seems 'incomplete'. But watchable.
½ November 25, 2014
Surprised at how much I hated this movie. There's just not much of interest going on in it. One of those "why was this made" type deals. I'm a big fan of Ethan Hawke, but here he is given little to do or perform with.
½ June 5, 2014
The desperation of the main character lands solidly in my space as I hitch hiked from thr top of France yo the border in the Pyrennes mountains and back up to Le Havre where I ran out of money! Kind of a weird 28 days later moment. The ending truly baffled me. Who gets the cafe?Does he take up with the attractive Polish Female? Who? Who? Who? seems to be the main resolution of this affair. I won't even try to go into the WHAT part! That said,I enjoy watching it!
May 2, 2014
very very slowly paced and not much of a mystery either
½ April 29, 2014
Many empty holes ...
½ March 26, 2014
You're not quite sure what's going on but you're not supposed to, brilliant!
February 14, 2014
The movie left me unsatisfied. It does well to cast such an air of mystery that the resolve just isn't there. There is good performances by all, but that's about it.
SC007
Super Reviewer
½ February 9, 2014
The film isn't bad but it isn't great either. It feels like the director is trying to copy the style of Roman Polanski here. I did like that the film is in both English and French. I was surprised by the short running time. I thought it could have been 20 minutes longer. I also felt that the pacing was off. In a weird way the film kind of reminded me of the movie, Secret Window. I know audiences might be confused by the ending of the film.

Ethan Hawke was ok, but I felt like I have seen him play this kind of role before. He didn't bring anything new here. Maybe another actor in that role could have done more with it. Kristin Scott Thomas is great here. She is kind of like the femme fatale. She does have a good on screen chemistry with Hawke.
January 18, 2014
Very very good movie that totally went under the radar of 2012 & the ratings aren't really encouraging but I'm thrilled I ignored the facts & watched it anyway, enjoying it all for myself :D

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Its mystery really, there are many events to take into consideration & really no single view that will explain the whole thing completely

It maybe that this Margit lady is infact a ghost or a demon thats taking over mister Toms life & the only way he could stop her from causing more harm to the people in his life is to "Stay with her" !

Or -and I'm more with this explanation- that Mister Tom over here is actually still sick -as he says himself- and he killed the man, He took Cloe & he Imagines Margit and the final scene is actually him Dying !

The Problem with the first explanation is that GHOSTS DON"T EXIST (but thats more a personal belief of mine & not necessarily one of the film makers :D)
While the problem with the second explanation is the Logistics, how does he access the apartment?, how did he know the name?

I'll never know really not until many friends have seen it & many discussions have been conducted I could reach a verdict that am comfortable with.

The music score for the movie was Sensational & worked perfectly with the overall mood
January 5, 2014
One of those oblique movies where everything is left to interpretation. What a waste on what could have been a good movie. Patty feel asleep.
December 27, 2013
The Woman In The Fifth is an interesting psychological thriller and drama about a man whose world struts back and forth between reality and the unknown. The film makes it clear from the beginning that the main character is troubled, but the film keeps things interesting as it explores his troubled life involving seedy characters, his two separate love interests, his battle for custody of his daughter, and his other problems which cause him to deteriorate and drift into the unknown. While it may have familiar twists and ideas, the way The Woman In The Fifth presents them makes them feel fresh again and I was always intrigued to see where it would go. I also especially loved how it went to great lengths to explore the main character and how he handles his series of awful situations. It's a terribly underrated film that is a hell of a lot better than the terrible reception among the users would lead you to believe. It's an intriguing and compelling exploration of a troubled mind.
½ December 4, 2013
...a film built entirely on depth that makes it brilliant as well as problematical.
½ October 25, 2013
Too many questions are left unaddressed, much less unanswered, in its rush to a meager non-payoff. Ethan Hawke is really good here though so for that I say RENT IT!!!
September 17, 2013
watched the whole movie and haven't a clue what this was about.,I was hoping going on this site would help explain what I just watched or should I say wasted my time on.
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