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The Bridesmaid (Unrated)

Release Date: August 4th, 2006 (Angelika Film Center) by First Run Features.
The Cast: Benoît Magimel, Laura Smet, Aurore Clément, Bernard Le Coq, Solène Bouton, Anna Mihalcea, Michel Duchaussoy, Suzanne Flon, Eric Seigne, Pierre-François Dumeniaud. Directed by Claude Chabrol.
In French with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Mysterious events occur when Philippe (Magimel) falls in love with his sister’s bridesmaid, Segma (Smet).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The Bridesmaid has an intricate plot that remains engaging throughout, but gradually diminishes in tension and suspense. The first act just sets up the characters that become more important to the plot later on. Philippe goes with his mother (Clément) to the house of Gerard (Le Coq), her lover, in order to give him a strange gift: a sculpted head a.k.a. a bust. Without notice, Gerard moves out of his house but not before Philippe tracks him down and steals the bust. At his sister’s wedding, Philippe meets a bridesmaid whose name was once Stephanie, but now it’s Segma. They instantly fall in love which is precisely the point when things turn for the worst. Segma asks him to kill another person by stating four actions that make you a complete person: planting a tree, writing a poem, having sex with somebody of your own gender, and killing someone. She asks him if he would kill to show her how much he loves her. Will he do it? Will he become just as crazy as she is? For that matter, is she telling the truth regarding anything in her past? These questions get explored in the second act, but only the last question has the most surprises while the rest feel a little too predictable and unimaginative. With all the pent-up tension and strange occurrences, the conventional third act falls apart with predictability and awkward scenes. On a positive note, both Benoît Magimel and Laura Smet give very convincing performances. If only the second and third acts weren’t so messy and underwhelming. Fortunately, co-writer/director Claude Chabrol includes great cinematography with an appropriate musical score which helps to give an eerie atmosphere as if something dark is about to happen.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A messy second and third act with diminishing suspense.


IN A NUTSHELL: An intricate plot with diminishing suspense, but strong performances and superbly directed by Claude Chabrol help to keep you awake.


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