Simple Passion: A Successful Adaptation by Annie Ernaux [critique]

An intense and destructive adulterous love story, carried by a moving Laetitia Dosch

Bringing an interior monologue to the screen in which the author recounts his intimacy is never easy. How can we translate these words into flesh-and-blood characters without losing the power of the imagination that his reading may have aroused? Danielle Arbid does it with superb in the adaptation of this book where Annie Ernaux described in detail her adulterous passionate relationship with a married Russian diplomat. A relationship limited to their meetings in the room, which she lacked from the moment they ended without knowing when the next one would take place. In her book, Annie Ernaux had chosen not to detail these moments of embraces. Danielle Arbid recounts the lack that regularly devours this woman by celebrating the overflow, by filming the intensity of their sexual relations with a rawness that is never provocative because anything but gratuitous. It will not surprise those who had already been able to appreciate the sensuality that surfaced from her A lost man and Beirut Hotel.

But he needed two actors capable of embodying this ballet of bodies with a naturalness never lacking. Sergei Polunin – former dancer who came to the cinema with Red sparrow – and Laetitia Dosch – overwhelming as a woman who consumes herself from the inside – do it wonderfully. This story of voluntary submission to the desires of an elusive man is bound to resonate in a special way in the #MeToo era. But above all, she hides the portrait of a woman who, through this troubled relationship, rediscovers herself by bringing out a femininity buried in a bewitching exultation of the body.

By Danielle Arbid. With Laetitia Dosch, Sergei Polunin, Caroline Ducey… Duration: 1h55. Released on August 11, 2021

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