Directed by: Benoît Jacquot
Distributed by: Icarus Films
Written by Jeff Sparks
Acting is a lot like the game of basketball. Everyone misses shots. No matter how many you hit in a row you always miss at some point. In Charlotte Gainsbourg’s varied career she’s had a lot of success with films by great filmmakers like von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac” and Noé’s “Lux Æterna.” On the other hand, she’s had a whole lot of misses such as “Ismael’s Ghosts” and “Three Hearts.” In fact “Three Hearts,” was also directed by Benoît Jacquot who directed Gainsbourg’s newest film, “Suzanna Andler.” Unlike their previous collaboration, “Suzanna Andler” isn’t just a miss, but an airball. Gainsbourg stars as a depressed woman who spends a day with her lover at a beach house as she contemplates her failed marriage, her loyalties, and her life. Also, starring is Niels Schneider and Julia Roy. The film takes place in the 1960s but you wouldn’t know that since it takes place in one barren location that gives no hints about the time period.
The entire film is comprised of long conversations that Andler has with her lover, her friend, and her husband. I don’t like to use the word boring often but that is the only way to describe the dialogue. The characters talk in a monotonous tone in dull back and forths that go on and on. It doesn’t help that they are often talking about people we aren’t introduced to. There is one interesting scene that features Andler talking with a friend on the beach below where she’s staying. Later on, she talks about the encounter as if it were imagined. Was it? That’s for the viewer to decide. There aren’t many other scenes like this but I suppose that’s not a big deal since this one didn’t have any impact on the story anyway, which leaves me wondering what the point was.
The lack of a score or any kind of music is a prominent issue as well. The only noise outside of talking is the sound of the waves on the beach where the film is located. At first, that brought some much-needed ambiance but eventually, even the waves began to sound annoying, like they were on a loop. Nothing special is done with the camera, although the long takes Jacquot uses are impressive. Most scenes are comprised of flat, plain shots that simply point the lens at the actors and offer nothing more. Not even Gainsbourg, perhaps the greatest actress in the world, could keep my attention. Even though “Suzanna Andler” is a stain in her career, a film like this doesn’t damage her legacy in any way. After her transcendental work in “Antichrist,” “Nymphomaniac,” “Melancholia,” and “Lux Æterna,” Gainsbourg could do fifty “Suzanna Andler’s” without her legacy being tarnished, at least in my mind.
“Suzanna Andler” Trailer