Film Review: ‘False Confessions’

Luc Bondy’s final feature film as a director explores the psychology of love, bringing the little known Marivaux’s play of the same name to Paris in the 21st century.

At times, the lens flare is overstimulating to the eye. When the characters are in sunlight, the edges of their silhouettes disappear and they glow, surreal. Academy Award nominee Isabelle Huppert (ELLE), as Araminte, a wealthy widow and socialite, wears silk Dior shirts and pants in soft whites and silvers. Everything about Luc Bondy’s film is a deeply saturated, hyper-realistic and self-aware film about love that disguises itself as a light-hearted caper.

Dorante (Louis Garrel) enters the scene as a freshly hired personal secretary to Araminte. In a world where secrets and lies blur as easily as the actors on screen, Daronte is in love with Araminte but at the same time schemes to steal her wealth. The other side of the caper consists of a well-meaning but slightly daft friend, confidante and housekeeper to Araminte, Marton (Manon Combes), and Araminte’s bully of a mother (Bulle Ogier), who both endeavour to see Araminte married off to an aged but wealthy Count (Jean-Pierre Malo).

Different agendas work for their own self-interest and they all fixate on the manipulability, the façade and falsity of love. It is an exhibition of itself, in a way, when it begins to reveal itself as sincere; yet Bondy’s master manipulation of the camera and the setting of the stage turns sincerity into self-parody. Love is hard to believe in this world where people are inscrutable and deceptive.

Isabelle Huppert, a skilled and veteran actress on screen and on the stage, gives a delicately delightful performance as Araminte, supported by equally pleasurable performances by Louis Garrel as the dishonest Daronte.

False Confessions will be coming to theaters on Bastille Day, July 14th, 2017.

Director: Luc Bondy

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Louis Garrel, Bulle Ogier, Manon Combes, Jean-Pierre Malo, Yves Jacques.

Running time: 85 min

In French with English subtitles

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