The French dark drama comedy Who You Think I Am (Celle que vous croyez) can shake the viewer pretty nicely. The film convincingly shows how great feelings can become – like the video of Rolling Stones song ‘Love Is Strong’ that captures the mood of Who You Think I Am with its slightly depraved visual aesthetics perfectly.
Oscar winner Juliette Binoche plays 50-year-old Claire, a literature lecturer at the university, who has split from her husband after 20 years of living together and has now found herself a younger lover who is a construction man. The construction man, however, is not much interested in the company of the woman after having sex, and he will soon leave the literature teacher on her own.
Claire needs emotional proximity. A need for control also emerges in her, she would like to achieve a position where no one could leave her anymore. She decides to use her trained mind and creates a picture-perfect 24-year-old woman’s account on Facebook. Using a false account, she’s going to infiltrate into the life of ex-lover to yet to see about this abandonment thing.
In the course of her mission, Claire will have a chat contact with the construction man’s friend Alex, who is a photographer. As both somehow manage to direct the conversation to the dream of a perfect partner and an ideal self, the cyber relationship fiercely flares up and both get carried away. Claire, however, resists the chance to actually meet the online lover, even though the young man is pushing hard. So Claire ends up at the psychotherapist to unravel her feelings.
The central issue of the film is how a person’s perception of his or her best self expresses his or her spiritual reality and how that perception could be implemented. The different choices are twisted and turned by the film in a very intense way, and in the course of this, light is cast into the darker parts of the human soul.
Who You Think I Am is a rather recognisable French/European film. For example, if you compare it to the French drama thriller Double Lover (L’amant double, 2017) there are at least three substantive similarities in the films. These include sex in a big-windowed apartment while there’s a night-time city panorama in the background, the heroine’s extensive conversations with her therapist, and scenes that don’t immediately give away the meaning of what’s going on on the screen.
If you didn’t get enough of a 50-year-old woman’s quest for closeness and her true self after seeing Who You Think I Am, you can go see another new movie on the same subject, Gloria Bell. Julianne Moore, the main actress here, is also an Oscar winner, and the story unfolding on the screen is much brighter and includes plenty of dance music from the 80s.
Upcoming screenings: http://kultuur.info/event/film-who-you-think-i-am//
Photo: image from Who You Think I Am