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A Girl Cut in Two

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French director Claude Chabrol (Chocolat) delivers something like a Pedro Almodovar film with this drama that finds a famous author named Charles (François Berléand) and a rich businessmen named Paul (Benoît Magimel) both vying for the attention of Gabrielle (Ludivine Sagnier), a vivacious newscaster who aspires to do more than weather forecasts. Neither suitor is particularly promising, however. Charles has been married for 25 years and tends to be condescending. Paul is a rich kid who doesn’t take no for an answer, cavorting around town in a sports car that costs more than Gabrielle, who still lives with her mother, makes in a year. Eventually, Gabrielle marries Paul, but her heart still longs for Charles, and that’s something the unstable Paul can’t stand. Well-acted and superbly written, the film avoids its soap opera tendencies simply because it’s so sophisticated, and the numerous tragic twists will constantly keep you guessing. HHH

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