Greetings again from the darkness. So much trust goes into a marriage. We try to choose someone we can imagine growing old with, and also whose morals are in line with our own … especially if raising kids is part of the plan. Of course sometimes things don’t work out as hoped, and writer-director Josephine Mackerras shows us what happens when things go horribly wrong – when the person we have trusted is so drastically different than the person we believed them to be.
Alice (Emilie Piponnier) and Francois (Martin Swabey) appear to be a normal wife and husband raising a cute little boy named Jules. Alice is a beautiful and caring person, whose goodness shines through in her smile. Francois is the charming type who recites literary passages at dinner parties before planting a passionate kiss on his wife in front of everyone at the table. One day, Alice’s credit card is declined which leads her down the dark trail no one hopes to travel. Francois has maxed out the cards and emptied the bank account. Worse yet, their apartment is nearing foreclosure from lack of payments.
Further research leads Alice to Elegant Escorts and the realization that her beloved husband has been leading a secret double life – one that has left her penniless with a young child. What happens next is quite surprising. Sweet Alice proves to be much tougher than she appears. After some terrible guidance from her mother, Alice takes control of the situation in order to save her home and provide for her son. Her friend and mentor in her new vocation is Lisa (Chloe Boreham), who offers tips and emotional support. This gets her through the clumsy and awkward initial attempts at carrying out her new duties. Soon she believes the plan is working and she’ll be able to save her home, but alas, Francois reappears and complicates the situation.
This is the first feature film from Ms. Mackerras and the film is a Grand Jury prize nominee at SXSW. The obvious comparison here is to Louis Bunuel’s masterpiece BELLE DE JOUR (1967) starring Catherine Deneuve, with the obvious difference being one character was bored and craved attention, while another was desperate to save her home. Self-discovery plays a role for both. The tagline for this film is: “She did everything right, until it all went wrong”, and it’s a reminder that often we find the inner strength needed during times of crisis. The film also offers up a nice moral of the story in noting the cleansing power of nature. It’s a terrific little film that flashes significant talent from filmmaker Josephine Mackerras and lead actress Emilie Piponnier.