Leaving (Partir)

Leaving (Partir) has another powerful performance by Kristin Scott Thomas and not much else.  Thomas plays an under-appreciated French wife of comfortable means who falls in love with a good-hearted but unlucky Spanish laborer.  Sergi Lopez (Pan’s Labyrinth, Dirty Pretty Things) is appealing as the lover.  Her husband is not understanding and makes her life devoid of comfort, and the movie becomes a heavy-handed romantic tragedy.  So the story lets us down.  But Thomas, especially in French films (I’ve Loved You So Long), may be the best screen actress in the world, and her performance is another masterwork.

Still, it’s good to see a third serious film about middle-aged romance this year (after I Am Love and Mademoiselle Chambon).  All three have fine performances by their leading ladies, but Leaving is still the weakest of the three.

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