Judith has a husband and two sons. She also has a lover and a daughter - and a second identity. Entangled in secrets and lies, her double life begins to shatter.
Virginie Efira’s character in ‘Madeleine Collins’ is a duplicitous woman attempting vainly to reconcile herself to others’ expectations. As Margot Soriano, she lives in Switzerland with her partner Abdel (Quim Gutiérrez) and their little girl, Ninon. But when she travels, ostensibly for work, it’s often to her husband, Melvil (Bruno Salomone), in France.
There she goes by the name Judith Fauvet and has two more children, both boys. As the veil is skilfully and progressively lifted on the double life of a woman split between two households in two countries, an atmosphere of discomfort and mystery builds and builds.
Thanks to the film's very solid construction and Efira's superbly detailed rendering of a complicated woman, the film feels utterly coherent. It's not a mystery but a character study as a mystery. With echoes of Patricia Highsmith and Hitchcockian tonality (‘Vertigo’), as well as playing with variations of tension and using a few flashbacks, ‘Madeleine Collins’ slowly reveals itself to be a bewitching exploration of a woman’s torments.
Naturally, a great performer was required to play such a troubled personality: Virgine Efira is an actress who excels at transmitting micro-emotions through a simple quiver of the face or a dark glimmer in an opaque gaze, a woman hinting at vast and inscrutable depths beneath a perfect mask of beauty.
Our thanks to Charades for this screening.