Directed by Catherine Breillat | France/Belgium | 105 mins.
A tough-as-nails provocateur with nothing if not the courage of her convictions, Catherine Breillat has been making controversial, unflinching films about female sexuality since A Real Young Girl, her startling 1976 debut. She is perhaps primarily known for taboo subject matter and films featuring unsimulated sex acts. Breillat's 2013 film Abuse of Weakness, based on an autobiographical book of the same name, marked a notable change of pace. In the aftermath of a debilitating stroke, a Breillat-surrogate movie director named Maud Shainberg (played by Huppert), is progressively scammed out of a sizeable amount of money by a charming con man who takes advantage of her unaccustomed condition of incapacity. The hook: she knew what he was, going in. Abuse of Weakness is a remarkable collaboration between two fearless female powerhouses of French cinema and culture more generally. Playing a stubborn woman of persistence and resolve who struggles with a havoc wreaked on her nervous system, Huppert once again subtly transforms herself.
- Written by Jason Wierzba