AND SHE DELIVERS: A review of Hideaway

In Francois Ozon’s film Time to Leave, the director dramatizes the final days of a young man who is dying, a young man who isn’t particularly likeable and treats people rather shoddily. It was a deeply moving film. Ozon’s latest film, Hideaway, is about a pregnant woman who is a recovering drug addict; who smokes and drinks while carrying her child; and who lashes out at times at those around her who are trying to help or empathize with her. It’s also deeply moving. Hideaway is one of those films with a preview that’s totally misleading. The coming attractions would have you think this is about a pregnant woman recovering from the tragic death of her boyfriend and the boyfriend’s family wanting her to abort the child; the woman retreats to the country where she is joined by the boyfriend’s brother, with the intimation that romance will ensue. In actuality, the boyfriend died an ugly death from a drug overdose and the brother is gay; there is a romance, but it‘s between the brother and a local delivery man. Isabelle Carre, the star of Hideaway, must use the same skin conditioner that Tilda Swinton was using for I Am Love: in both cases their skin is luminous. One can’t look away from them. In Hideaway, perhaps it’s the pregnancy that does it. People say that women who are carrying have a sheen about them and apparently Ozon pulled an I Love Lucy and built the story around Carre’s actual pregnancy. And Carre delivers in more ways than one. She’s very good in the role, easily bridging the gap between her off putting character Mousse and the audience and keeps us with her even when we don’t like her. Ozon is one of my favorite French filmmakers. He’s what one would call a solid director who always delivers. Here, though, he, and his co-screenwriter Mathieu Hippeau, do seem to slip a tad at the ending. Though moving, there is something off about it that makes it less satisfactory than other Ozon films. It’s as if a couple of steps or a few scenes were left out for some reason. In the finale, Mousse is in the hospital, having delivered her baby, and she is visited by Paul, the father’s brother. Mousse has Paul watch the baby while she goes outside for a smoke. We know what’s going to happen; she’s going to keep on going and leave the baby with Paul. Fair enough, but rather than being fully caught up in the emotionality of the moment, all I could think is, ‘Wait, she left her purse, money and ID’s in the hospital and she’s wearing nothing but her hospital gown under her coat; how far can she really go”. And in the next scene she’s on a train with no indication as to how she paid her fair or where she is going to end up. It’s one of those endings where logic took second place to romantic flair; it works, but one does wish it would have worked just a little better.

So tell me what you think.

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