Ludivine Sagnier entered the American public consciousness with Swimming Pool. Then she took us through a musical threesome in Love Songs. Now she plays an innocent weather-girl caught in the middle of love and money in A Girl Cut in Two. This is a story about a naïve girl that falls for an older man, an author named Charles Saint-Denis (François Berléand). However, after the man that she believes to be the love of her life breaks down her innocence, their relationship ends very badly. Lost in a fog of confusion, she goes back to a young and demented heir to a pharmaceutical company, Paul Gaudens, (Benoît Magimel) she had been courting earlier, little knowing the descent into madness that step will take.
A Girl has been advertised as a dark comedy, and there are some comedic moments, but on a whole this movie is more powerful in the insanity of it all, rather than the dry wit contained in some of the zingers the characters throw at each other. One thing that I really liked was the performances by the lead actors in this film. The pacing might have been slightly off, and the jokes occasionally missed, but the actors were on top of their game. Magimel’s portrayal as Gaudens, a young millionaire (who was also a mentally disturbed mama’s boy), was spectacular. There were little tics he had, like covering his mouth, that really brought his character to life. So when he spoke of his jealousy, I could really feel it. Sagnier also did remarkably well, from her early wide-eyed performance in the scene when she met Saint-Denis, to her calculated decision to take on her previously rebuffed young man; her character arc is the biggest in the film. The director does a good job making her the focus since it is pretty hard to like any of the other male leads. But in order to regain the viewer’s trust, she loses her naiveté and starts to fight for her own rights, which begins the climax of the story.
If there was one big thing wrong with A Girl, it was that the film’s pacing was a bit too meandering at times. In fact, it was pretty slow, even for a dialogue-driven film. And the film also used a technique where the viewer would know what’s happening, but one of the characters didn’t. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it brought interaction between the film and the audience, but it was a little frustrating because it took some of the edge off the film’s few comedic moments.
A Girl Cut In Two is a good flick. I’d give it a pretty strong recommendation for some change-of-pace viewing or if you are in the mood for a slightly comedic thriller.
3 / 5 stars