Search Canada News

Search Canada Online Listing

The Nature of Love review – philosophy professor’s life spiced up by rugged labourer

ICYMI: A middle-aged woman’s has a giddy fling in Monia Chokri’s latest film – at first all is roses, but then moral murkiness creeps in

Middle-aged women enjoying torrid flings were treated with solemnity in Claire Denis’s Both Sides of the Blade and Harry Wootliff’s True Things. The Québécois actor-director Monia Chokri takes a gentler, livelier tack in her third movie and first as solo screenwriter. It kicks off at a choppily edited dinner-party where a gaggle of erudite pals are bantering about the end of the world (“We’re in extinction denial”), then narrows the focus to one couple. Sophia (Magalie Lépine-Blondeau), a philosophy professor whose lectures amount to little more than listing quotes about love from the likes of Schopenhauer, Spinoza and Plato, is a decade into her cosy, unchallenging relationship with Xavier (Francis-William Rhéaume). Hiring the rugged labourer Sylvain (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) to spruce up her holiday chalet, she is delighted to find he can do the same to her sex life at no extra cost.

Lépine-Blondeau captures the alarm and giddiness that Sophia experiences under Sylvain – literally under him in one scene, during which she narrates aloud her own disbelief (“Totally irrational! Makes no sense!”) as he writhes away on top of her. For a good hour, all is roses, with Emile Sornin’s pretty, pastoral score sounding suitably effervescent. Gradually, thorns start to appear: Sylvain expresses a liking for a rightwing poet, and shows signs of jealousy, aggression and racism. It is a mark of Chokri’s desire to explore her characters’ moral murkiness that she shows the relationship stuttering past these red flags into areas comic (an awkward marriage proposal) and transgressive (Sophia buys a collar and leash for Sylvain to use on her). Continue reading…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search Canada News