Lovers: a stylized sentimental thriller [critique]

Pierre Niney, Stacy Martin and Benoit Magimel shine in front of Nicole Garcia’s camera

Nicole Garcia’s cinema never tries to be friendly. For 30 years, the actress-turned-filmmaker has been churning out dramas whose substantive core is love put to death. His modern tragedies feature men or women trapped by their excess of feelings. Four years after the disturbing Stone sickness, the director continues her exploration of female torments. Because the heroine ofLovers, it’s Lisa (Stacy Martin), this young woman caught between the love of the past, Simon (Pierre Niney), a little thug who resurfaces years after having evaporated and the husband of the present time, Léo (Benoît Magimel ), a more stable businessman. If the dilemma seems to articulate for the young woman between passion and reason, the intrigue reveals itself gradually, by layers, much more complex, and this thanks to the rather troubled and brilliantly interpreted character of the husband. All unspoken, Magimel opposes a Pierre Niney silences and glances that raise the tension.

Of course, we can blame Nicole Garcia for not really surprising with this passionate thriller and for being less feverish than the title lets hope. But it is because we must seek in Henri-Georges Clouzot more than in Louis Malle the influence of an assumed darkness. We admire the coldness that the filmmaker gives to the most paradisiacal landscape there is – Mauritius. And as usual, his keen analysis of class relations and the attraction of money brings a welcome depth to the sentimental thriller.

By Nicole Garcia. With Stacy Martin, Pierre Niney, Benoît Magimel… Duration: 1h42. Release November 17, 2021

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