Poster for Under the Sand

Under the Sand

2000, Drama, 1h 36m

73 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Rampling carries the film with her finely nuanced performance of a woman coping with her husband's death. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

For many years, Marie and Jean have happily spent their vacation together in the Landes region of western France. But this summer, while Marie naps on the beach, her husband goes swimming and vanishes without a trace. Tenaciously and disquietingly, Marie keeps the memory of her husband alive, often speaking of him as if he never disappeared. An offbeat study of the grieving process that will ring true for anyone who has gone through a similar personal loss.

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Critic Reviews for Under the Sand

Audience Reviews for Under the Sand

  • Dec 11, 2012
    Beautiful and heartfelt. Another gem from the very robust French cinema industry. This is a truly moving depiction of the mourning process. Ozon does a great job.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 11, 2011
    François Ozon's films, even those that aren't entirely successful, are always worth seeing, and <i>Sous le Sable</i> is certainly no exception. This is one of his "deceptively simple" films, that, like <i>Le Refuge</i>, explores one or two themes but in realistic, surprising and moving ways. Here, Charlotte Rampling offers a quietly impressive role as Marie, whose husband Jean goes for a swim in the sea whilst vacationing and is never seen again, apparently drowned. Marie refuses to accept that he is gone, even his physical presence, let alone his life, and thinks of him and refers to him in the present tense, her grief too awful, traumatic, impossible to 'indulge' in. Deeply complex, the film concentrates almost only on her denial and how she is able (initially) to make excuses for Jean's absence in her life, and at home when alone, imagine he is there (though 'imagine' is not strictly true - delusional is more appropriate but that word also has connotations of madness that may not apply). It's not easy viewing in any sense of the word, but Ozon is absolutely in control of all the elements and Rampling's performance, which seems perpetually on the edge of shattering, is nothing less than perfectly observed, but also restrained, understated, all in facial expressions (see also the work of Kristin Scott-Thomas and Lauren Ambrose). An extraordinary film.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2009
    Is there any working performer with eyes as expressive and versatile as Charlotte Rampling's?
    Drew S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 16, 2009
    Meet Cleopatra, the Queen of Denial, except here her name is Marie. Meticulous, sloooow-moving meditation on grief and coming to grips with sudden tragedy. Charlotte Rampling is quite excellent but her withdrawl into a fantasy existence turns the audience into clinical observers and in the end we don't learn much. Well made but too deliberate for some tastes or an unrestrained recommendation.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer

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