Nathalie is the name a Parisian prostitute assumes for a special mission or "private investigation." She is engaged in this unusual and secretive task by a professional, upper-middle-class ...
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Nathalie is the name a Parisian prostitute assumes for a special mission or "private investigation." She is engaged in this unusual and secretive task by a professional, upper-middle-class wife who fears that her husband is unfaithful to her. Nathalie has to seduce the clueless husband and regularly report all details of her relationship with him, including his most intimate sexual preferences in bed. Nathalie is stunning, charming, and cunning. Can Nathalie and her reports to the mistrustful wife be trusted? Is the middle aged husband indeed unfaithful?Written by
luiza do brasil
Would a woman, finding out that her husband has been having casual affairs (which he admits to, but says `they are nothing') hire a prostitute to seduce him and report back to her? I don't know, but maybe it's possible in France, a country which prides itself on the tidy management of sex in general. It does seem a rather bizarre way of putting some zing back into a flagging marriage. Fanny Ardant as the voyeuristic wife Catherine dominates the movie though she spends a lot of time staring off into the middle distance. Gérard Depardieu as Bernard the husband is reduced to a bit player. The most intriguing character is `Nathalie' the prostitute played with innocent charm by Emmanuelle Béart, who, though 38, manages to look 15 years younger. She might have a waif-like manner but she certainly has learned what men are like and what they want, and her accounts of her sessions with the husband seem all too authentic.
Unfortunately I worked out fairly early in the piece what was really going on. I won't spoil it for you dear reader, but it is all a bit anti-climactic. The film does have a genuine Parisian feel to it crowded apartments (even that of the affluent married couple), bars, streets, restaurants, etc. All that elegant consumption and all that personal lack of fulfillment. It's almost a relief to discover that one of the patients at Catherine's gynaecology practice, though in her early 20s, is still a virgin.
In its favour, the movie does not drag on too long, and has in `Natalie' a genuinely intriguing character. She is not the usual desperate junkie - she is not without resources, and when not being a prostitute works as a hairdresser and beautician. Is she able to have a `normal' relationship with anyone? At one stage the temperature between her and Catherine gets quite warm. Or is she emotionally burnt out by the rigours of the game? Anne Fontaine as director doesn't seem to want to explore her most interesting character so we are left to guess.
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