Love in the Strangest Way

"Love in the Strangest Way" -- a posthumous release from scripter/helmer Christopher Frank, who died last November -- is a taut but somewhat aloof suspenser about a home-wrecking femme fatale and the dark consequences of her deeds. Enjoyably perverse plot could easily be remade as a TV movie in nearly any language.

With:
Julien ... Thierry L'hermitte Anne ... Maruschka Detmers Angela ... Nadia Fares

“Love in the Strangest Way” — a posthumous release from scripter/helmer Christopher Frank, who died last November — is a taut but somewhat aloof suspenser about a home-wrecking femme fatale and the dark consequences of her deeds. Enjoyably perverse plot could easily be remade as a TV movie in nearly any language.

Three-character drama stars Thierry L’hermitte as Julien, a self-assured exec at a Paris debt collection firm.

When wife Anne (Maruschka Detmers) and 7-year-old son leave on vacation, Julien invites shapely young Angela (Nadia Fares) to dinner on a whim.

Though he backs away from her aggressive angling for a one-night stand, the impetuous and nosy Angela surreptitiously leaves plenty of evidence of her visit.

In record time, she moves into the same apartment building and is hired by Anne to babysit. As Angela orchestrates compromising scenes, Anne’s trust in hubby evaporates by stages.

After accidentally whacking Angela with a shovel at a building renovation site, Julien stashes her body in a hollow wall, and buys and moves into the very apartment.

Cynical script makes insulting one’s wife’s intelligence seem like a more serious transgression than killing a sexy but annoying acquaintance.

Fares is tantalizing as the crafty tease, and Detmers is fine, if subdued, as the incredulous spouse. L’hermitte goes through the motions as the circumstantial evidence of the husband’s misbehavior piles up, although the role calls for only a fraction of the thesp’s customary charm and comic timing.

Lensing in summertime Paris is OK. Jean-Marie Senia’s pulsing score sets a suitably noirish tone from the first frame.

Producers took the English title from a song included here, although literal translation, “Women Never Forget,” would seem more apt and commercial.

Love in the Strangest Way

(FRENCH)

Production: An Ariane release of a Fildebroc/Capac/Ice Films/TF1 Films Prods. production , with participation of Canal Plus, Cofimages, Investimage 4. (International sales: President Films, Paris.) Produced by Michelle De Broca. Executive producer, Jean Nachbaur. Directed, written by Christopher Frank, from a story by Jean-Marc Roberts.

Crew: Camera (color), Bertrand Chatry; editor, Catherine Dubeau; music, Jean-Marie Senia; art direction, Dominique Andre; costume design, Yvette Frank; sound, Daniel Brisseau; associate producer, Paul Claudon. Reviewed at UGC Danton Cinema, Paris, April 21, 1994. (In Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 105 MIN.

With: Julien ... Thierry L'hermitte Anne ... Maruschka Detmers Angela ... Nadia FaresWith: Patrick Timsit, Umberto Orsini.

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