Few actors chain-smoke as eloquently as Kristin Scott Thomas does in this austere French drama. The British star bringing such dowdy, doleful melancholy to every puff, she hardly needs to say anything at all.
Not that her character chooses to in a film that remains as tight lipped as she is about why she spent 15 years in prison prior to her reunion with
younger sister Elsa Zylberstein – until a climactic revelation that will leave no hankie unwrung.
OK, so references to Dostoyevsky and Eric Rohmer make Philippe Claudel’s directorial debut feel slightly precious. But as a showcase for its leading lady’s trademark brand of flinty minimalism and icy reserve, this ticks all the right boxes.
A lengthy interview with the director makes for a rather arduous extra, though five deleted scenes do offer more chances to marvel at what he calls
Kristin’s “beautiful distress”.