Movie Review-The Woman in the Fifth

Coming to dvd September 18th

Based on the popular novel by Douglas Kennedy, Woman in the Fifth is about an American Academic professor of literature and writer Tom Hicks, who leaves America to go to Paris to see his 6 year old daughter. Played by Ethan Hawke, Tom Hicks once he gets to France, one thing after another happens wrong for him. From his ex-wife not wanting him there and having a restraining order against him, to him falling asleep on a bus ride and someone stealing his stuff. When he goes to a shady diner to get something to drink, he comes into contact with Sezer who trades Tom his staying at the seedy hotel for his passport. Then, a job comes along for Tom to make some money that he knows there is more to this than meets the eye. The whole while, Sezer’s woman is falling in love with Tom. While, Tom meets a widow named Margit that completely changes his life.

When Margit enters the picture, Tom feels something he has never felt before a desire almost an obsessive lust towards her. The Woman in the Fifth is an exploration of how fragile our minds are, and how easily we are manipulated. This film refuses to tell a story that has logic and can be easily followed, this film tells a story that in the end will leave you with more questions than answers, and make you seriously re-think everything you just witnessed. This is one of those films that as you follow it, you think you know what is going on but you will be surprised when things start to change and the story gets bizarre and odd. The things that happen in this film make zero to no sense, but that was part of the beauty of this film to me, that it was so different.

This film is in French with English subtitles. Ethan Hawke does at time struggle speaking French, but that is ok for someone who just got into France from America. The script in this film was thought provoking and very well written. From Ethan to Kristin Scott Thomas playing Margit the strange widow that has Tom’s attention to the whole cast, each person really did a great job with their roles and what they offered the film. This film created a tension and mood that really becomes so complex and utterly unreal that you cannot turn away. The film does not have the payoff factor that I would have wished it would have different or more, but this film payoff aside, it does offer so much in terms of watching one man try to control his own destiny when it was never up to him to try and control. This film offers you so many subplots like the romance that blossoms with Ethan and Sezer’s girlfriend which Ethan and her are caught, and Ethan gets blackmailed by his scumbag next door neighbor who caught them that Ethan has issues with from the get-go that really creates a tension between the two that is really great and weird at the same time to see how it will play out.

If you are into experimental films, that are so downbeat and odd you may like this film a lot more than a meat and potatoes movie fan. This is the first film I ever watched that I am now out to want to read the book and see if the book offered anything the film did not and know more about this story. At 84 minutes it seemed a bit quick, and would have been better to at least give us more explanation to the final series of events that made things the way they were. This film is a very slow thriller, and there is no blood, only one kill and has a pace that seems to fit this film, but may not be a pace a lot of fans can have the patience for. I enjoyed it, and the ending was utterly confusing and had me asking myself so many questions, so in that aspect the film did its job. I really enjoyed this film, and would watch it again.

8 out of 10