Late starter in the New Wave, Eric Rohmer adds another plus to his record with this latest ‘moral tale’ [the last of his series of six]. His shrewdly knowing dialogue, asides and insight into the vagaries of love come across without verbosity or preciosity. To this add the knowing counterpoint of fine visual nuances, expert acting, bright editing and delicate lensing.
It’s a witty tale of a self-satisfied, middle-class white-collar man (Bernard Verley) who almost gives into Chloe, a free-living, impulsive woman (Zouzou), who barges in on him and whom he has not seen in years. Actually, she was a girlfriend of a friend and almost drove that man to suicide. She is a bit marked by life but still attractive and with the elan, unpredictability and direct emotional charm that Rohmer can exact so well.
Zouzou has heretofore played only in fringe experimental films but with this pic should be sought after. Verley is right as the slightly puffy but still good-looking architect who has found a good relationship with his wife, Helene (Francoise Verley). It is his free afternoons that lead to his problems with the woman and his near-seduction.
All the pro and non-pro actors are effectively used by Rohmer. The nearest thing to a love scene is Verley drying Zouzou when he arrives and she is taking a shower, or when he holds her and rubs her naked back.