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‘Double Lover’: Twisty erotic thriller opens on Valentine’s Day (review)

February 14, 2018 GMT

‘Double Lover’: Twisty erotic thriller opens on Valentine’s Day (review)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Is she going mad? Or is the world around her crazy?

These are questions director Roman Polanski asked in some of the greatest thrillers of the 20th century, “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Tenant” and “Repulsion.”

Now another French auteur has delved into this erotic, twisty psychological territory. It’s not new territory for François Ozon, who made his name with transgressive yet beautiful films like “See the Sea,” “Criminal Lovers” and “Under the Sand,” but it is quite a change from his most recent movie, 2016′s lauded, classical World War I film “Frantz.”

Not even Polanski explored the sexually-charged disintegration of a woman’s psyche as graphically as Ozon, however. His film begins with a close of a woman’s vagina ... which dissolves into her eye.

It’s a telling introduction - a reminder to look closely at everything, and of the tie between sexuality and perception.

Based on a short story by Joyce Carol Oates and obviously influenced by Polanski, the movie focuses on a gorgeous but depressed young woman Chloe (the mesmerizing Marine Vacth). Having experienced stomach pains most of her life, she seeks therapy to see if they are psychologically based.

Soon, her relationship with her therapist Paul Meyer (Jereme Renier ) turns personal. He confesses he has fallen in love with her, and they move in together. Chloe seems to be feeling better, until she sees Paul with another woman, or does she? When she learns Paul has changed his name, she is even more disturbed. She then discovers he has an identical twin brother, who is also a psychoanalyst. But, Paul vehemently denies having a brother. Louis, the darker more aggressive twin (a role Renier plays with great relish) says there’s a reason for his denial. Chloe and Louis soon begin a torrid sexual relationship, which he describes as therapy. Paul is unaware, or is he? Nothing is what is seems in this twisty thriller, filmed with cold, gorgeous precision by Manuel Dacosse.

As Chloe’s relationship with both men continues, she begins to feel her pains again. Is her mind causing them, or is it something more sinister. A late film appearance by the magnificent Jacqueline Bisset as a concerned mother who suddenly loses it with Chloe makes the central mystery all the more puzzling – and completely unpredictable.

“Double Lovers” is no ordinary erotic thriller – but who would expect ordinary from Ozon.


Double Lover

Who: Directed by Francois Ozon,

Rated: Not rated. Adult subject matter, graphic sexuality and some violence.

Running time: 110 minutes.

When: Opens Wednesday

Where: Cedar Lee Theatre, Capitol Theatre, Chagrin Cinemas

Grade: B