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New Girlfriend, The


Stars: Romain Duris, Anais Demoustier, Raphael Prsonnaz, Isild le Besco. Aurore Clément

Director: François Ozon

This, even though it's based on a story by the late Ruth Rendell, is very French. Laura (le Besco) and Claire (Demoustier), inseparable since childhood, are basically in love with each other. But, life being what it is, Laura marries David (Duris) and Claire somewhat reluctantly ties the knot with Gilles (Personnaz).

After the birth of a daughter, Laura takes sick and dies. Claire, bereft, visits the widower - to find him dressed as a woman. After the initial shock, she takes him/her out into the big wide world as a woman. She falls for her/him, but finds he has to make love to her as a woman and not a man.

Meanwhile, Gilles is quite literally left holding the baby. Like I said, it's very French.

Diminutive Duris doesn't make a very convincing woman, though I suspect that's not the point; but one might take issue with his complaining that his wife's clothes don't fit him, since they look the same height and build at the wedding. Claire describing him as 'a 6ft 4in tranny' (if the subtitles were correct) also drew a snort from this critic.

Demoustier is very good as the sympathetic Claire, catching all the light and shade the role requires, but the movie does spend a lot of time covering familiar ground and not getting very far. It's not one of the estimable Ozon's best.

David Quinlan

France/Canada 2014. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour by Kodak.
106 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 19 May 2015