A stylish frothy ‘light read’ of a film, La Lectrice recounts the adventures of a young woman who rents her services as a professional reader to bourgeois clients ill-disposed to doing their own page-turning. Michel Deville has fashioned an elegant entertainment with humor, irony, eroticism [from the books La Lectrice and Un Fontasme de Bella B. et Autre Recits by Raymod Jean].
Miou-Miou is the engaging heroine, a young woman of Arles who enjoys reading, has an attractive voice and obviously enjoys meeting people. Upon a friend’s suggestion she places an ad in a local paper to offer reading services. Naturally, the clientele is varied.
Miou-Miou reads Guy de Maupassant to a young cripple aroused by the view of her casually uncovered thigh, goes through Karl Marx and Tolstoy for the widow of an Eastern European general (Maria Casares) and beleaguers a neurotic inhibited business exec (Patrick Chesnais) with Marguerite Duras while they hop into bed together.
She finally decides to turn the final page on her little metier when an aging local magistrate (Pierre Dux) asks her to read some salacious prose from the Marquis de Sade for a round table of fellow notables.
Deville has composed this playful little opus with a deluxe production that makes every scene a pleasure for the eye. Picturesque exteriors of winding streets and alleyways in the old quarter of Arles punctuate the film’s glossy look.