Nobody Would Know What 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 speak of wealth and of easy living. Poised, elegant, and assertively calm, she means business; but few would know that her past wasn’t easy and that her strength derives from heinous childhood memories.

The mature Michèle is the victim of a sexual violation; being raped opens old wounds and pushes her to wonder who the perpetrator is and what was his motivation.
How ‘Elle’ interprets her experiences becomes a mystery, such that it invites one 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 continuous bursts of suspense and thrill, the film keeps you on your toes, to say the least. It is a dark movie that brings forth interesting parts of the 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 for 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 Cannes, Toronto, and New York festivals.

Elle opened on 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 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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