Nobody Would Know How That Happened, But ‘Elle’

(Cinema) – Masterfully played by Isabelle Huppert, Michèle is a mature woman and the head of a successful company in the video game industry. Her Parisian neighborhood and home speaks of wealth and of easy living. Poised, elegant and assertively calm, she means business; but few would know that her past wasn’t so easy and that her strength derives from heinous childhood memories.

The mature Michèle is the victim of a sexual violation; being raped not only opens old wounds but pushes her to wonder who the perpetrator was and what was his motivation.
How ‘Elle’ interprets her experiences becomes a mystery, one that invites to explore the main character on the big screen, the people who are part of her life, and perhaps the person sitting at the movie theater.

Filled with ongoing bursts of suspense and thrill, the film keeps you on your toes, to say the least. It is a dark movie but one that brings forth interesting parts of dark. It invites the viewer to think about the complexities of sexuality and sexual repression: What is healthy? What is sickening? When is it okay for people to transgress under the name of instinct?  and Why do people justify certain acts while condemning others?


The film by Paul Verhoeven runs 130 minutes. It has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards. It was an official selection at the Mill Valley Film Festival and at the festivals in Cannes, Toronto, and New York.

Elle opened November 18 at Landmark’s Embarcadero in San Francisco, Shattuck in Berkeley, and Guild in Menlo Park. Intense, thrilling, and thought-provoking, Elle is one of the few dark pictures I actually love.

Review by Lupita Peimbert. If you liked it, share it. 

Creative Commons License
Content by Lupita Peimbert @Lupitanews.
Photos of ‘Elle’ provided by the film company.
Lupita Peimbert is a digital journalist, English and Spanish bilingual,
who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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