Movie Review: The Woman In The Fifth

The Woman In The Fifth
Amazon Instant Video | DVD
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Starring Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas, Delphine Chuillot, Joanna Kulig and Samir Guesmi
Release Date: June 15, 2012

Ethan Hawke has become a regular sighting on the Parisian streets. He charted the narrow cobblestone streets endlessly while in intimate and deep conversation with his co-star Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, two films remarkably adept at capturing the many facets love is capable of possessing. Seeing him stroll idly and lonely around the not-so touristic venues in The Woman In The Fifth is welcomed and appreciative in the sense that it strips away all romantic notions attached to love and replaces them with disquieting notions that paint love and romance in a negative and perverted light. Though not apparent initially, the film, through Hawke’s character, navigates through a throng of squalid and empty relationships.

Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski (he also wrote the film’s screenplay based on Douglas Kennedy’s book) shows us a Paris that is extremely contrary to the one that has been conventionally conveyed in an infinite number of hapless films. Cafes are decrepit, some apartments are illusory, and others exude grotesqueness. This extreme break allows audiences to be unaware of where this film will finally end up. Constantly unfamiliar with the dilapidated Parisian surroundings this film presents, audiences then expect a different kind of narrative to unravel about love and loss.

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