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A seemingly ideal marriage is thrown into embarrassing turmoil in Patrice Chéreau's period drama, Gabrielle. Based on the short story The Return by Joseph Conrad, the film opens with Jean (Pascal Greggory) extolling the virtues of his pretty wife, Gabrielle (Isabelle Huppert), in voice-over as he makes his way home from work. Jean and his wife, with help from their team of servants, have fostered the illusion of a perfect bourgeois household. Jean is particularly happy with the way Gabrielle presents herself at the couple's frequent dinner gatherings, attended by their "set,"… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Although it is possible that French actress Isabelle Huppert makes the occasional false move, she does not make them in front of a camera."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"Chereau matches Conrad's insistence on psychological accuracy, burrowing through the protective layers of self-delusion that hold so many human relationships together."
‑ Michael Booth, Denver Post
"A work of stunning intensity underneath opulent fabrics"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"Rewards those who stay with least those who use terms like deconstruction."
‑ Rex Roberts, Film Journal International
"Most of all, we think, 'Gosh, all of these experiments make for a cold, uninvolving film.'"
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"This is a careful and cinematic adaptation that rings with painful truth."
‑ Dave Calhoun, Time Out
"Husband and wife, upper-class couple Jean and Gabrielle Hervey, are played, to perfection, by two of France's premier film actors: Pascal Greggory and Isabelle Huppert."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"Both protagonists give elegant and moving performances."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Co-screenwriter/director Patrice Chereau doesn't seem in any particular hurry with the pacing. He practically dawdles, which makes the whole thing feel longer than its relatively scant running time."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"A shocking, brilliantly original rumination on the subject of marital rot."
‑ Rick Kisonak, Film Threat
"For the most part, [Chereau] lets Huppert and Greggory provide the emotional impact. They respond accordingly, imbuing their mutual suffering with an exacting and moving finesse."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"Greggory is up to that journey, revealing the character in his various colors, and Huppert is at her usual best, subtle, emotionally full, focused and honest."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"A film that matches all too well the times it portrays, Gabrielle is claustrophobic, stifling, and not a little crusty. Saved only by its exquisitely bitter performances and immaculate design."
‑ Anton Bitel, Film4
"Chronically impassive and faultlessly incurious about others, Gabrielle has been, for ten years, the perfect ornament of a social circle where 'emotion and failure are feared more than war.'"
‑ Stuart Klawans, The Nation
"A little less flash, and Gabrielle could have been a subtle classic. As is, it's still a powerful exploration of human nature."
‑ Jack Garner, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
More reviews for Gabrielle on Rotten Tomatoes

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