Release Date: May 18th, 2007 (Cinema Village) by New Yorker Films.
The Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Jérémie Renier, Yannick Renier, Kris Cuppens, Raphaelle Lubansu, Patrick Descamps. Directed by Joachim Lafosse.
In French with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Pascale (Huppert), recently divorced, dreams of opening up a B&B with her new lover, Jan (Cuppens), which frustrates her dependent twins (Jeremie and Yannick Renier).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Private Property manages to be an engrossing drama with convincing performances. The plot begins when Pascal has already divorced her husband, Luc (Descamps), and lives with her twin sons, Thierry and Francois, who are old enough to go to college. They both rely on their mother every day and, not surprisingly, neither of them have successful relationships with women. In a crucial dinner scene, Pascal announces to her sons that she plans on selling their house and starting a new life with Jan, a Flemish chef who plans on co-owning a B&B with her. The tensions begin once the sons realize that they will have to be independent for a change. Co-writer/director Joachim Lafosse wisely allows the plot to move organically with a strong focus on relationship between the twins and their mother. This emphasis on character development and realism rather than on cheap, over-the-top plot twists allows you to become gradually absorbed by story. The exquisite cinematography and the appropriate musical score add depth to simple scenes without being pretentious, distracting or awkward. Isabelle Huppert, who always immerses herself into her roles, performs with such conviction here that she makes every one of her scenes compelling to watch, even when the third act feels a bit contrived.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Pascale basically wants freedom from her two sons, who have become burdens and obstacles for her to fulfill her dream. She loves and cares for them a lot, but everything should have a limit. Everyone needs to grow up at some point in their lives. If they depend a lot on a parent, that just makes it much more challenging to face the harsh realities of the world independently and, most importantly, to discover who you really are.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: An engrossing, compelling drama with a strong performance by Isabelle Huppert.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "P" Menu