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A Girl Cut in Two

A love triangle causes tears, trouble and even a trial

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In Claude Chabrol's tragicomic melodrama, the lovely, vivacious Gabrielle (Ludivine Sagnier), who works as a TV weathergirl in Paris, is pursued by two inappropriate men, whose rarified worlds coincidentally intersect with hers. Charles Saint-Denis (François Berléand) is a married novelist, some 30 years her senior; Paul (Benoît Magimel) is young, handsome and rich, but an unstable playboy. Each man is cynical and world-weary in his way, but poor Gabrielle is naïve and hopeful, and thus she falls prey to the destructive self-interests of both men. I find it a bit tiresome that once again a film's plot rests on accepting that a bright young thing will instantaneously fall for the old dude. But if you can absorb yet another May-December romance, this one at least has an arch edge that undercuts the tiresome trope. Girl is both cool and over-heated simultaneously, with a fair amount of amusing barbs aimed at the usual suspects (literary pretensions, television, genteel bourgeois facades). Its themes are comfortingly familiar, and served with many glasses of fine champagne: Please ponder ambition, class, amour fou, the discreet decadence of the well-to-do, youth vs. age and whether a laissez-faire attitude toward relationships is liberating or cavalier. In French, with subtitles. Starts Fri., Nov. 28. Regent Square

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