On DigitalReviews

Who You Think I Am (15) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir: Safy Nebbou, France 2019, 102 mins.

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Francois Civil, Nicole Garcia, Guillaume Gouix

Review by Carlie Newman

Available on Curzon Home Cinema

You could watch Juliette Binoche recite the telephone directory – if it still exists – and it wouldn’t be boring. Luckily, you don’t need to as she stars in an erotic film that you can watch at home now. Binoche plays Claire, a fifty-year-old divorced lecturer with two young sons. Starting with a full-on bonking scene with a younger lover, Ludo (Guillaume Gouix), we mostly follow the story that Claire tells her new therapist, Dr Catherine Bormans (Nicole Garcia) following an apparent major breakdown.

Claire tells Dr Bormans that when Ludo discards her, she feels that she is old and unloved. So Claire sets about seducing Ludo’s younger assistant, Alex (Francois Civil). She finds him on a dating site and pretending to be a young, sexy beautiful girl called Carla, has long telephone calls with Alex, culminating in phone sex. Of course, before very long, Alex wants to meet up with his gorgeous looking new girlfriend (Clara has sent him a photo of herself – actually it is a picture of her young niece) and is upset at being continually thwarted because Claire can’t let him see that she has lied about her age and looks and makes many excuses to avoid a rendezvous.

Claire relates all this to her therapist and goes on to tell her what happens after she breaks up with Alex. There are a number of plot twists so that the film is not just a romance with a spicy erotic feeling but also a what-happens-next type of film.

Binoche is utterly convincing in the part of the older woman – bitter because her husband has left her and then caught up with the world of addiction to a mobile phone. She almost ignores her two young sons as she continues to speak on the phone and moves from room to room when her children are present. There is an amusing scene where she goes to pick them up and as they stand at the side of the road she carries on driving round and round the car park because she is in the middle of a deep conversation with her lover.

The two young lovers, who are mainly there to react to Binoche, are attractive and well depicted too and Safy Nebbou has directed with a real French touch of class and sophistication. Interesting and unusual in its concept and execution, this is a film to intrigue.