on September 08, 2002 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
Based on Benjamin Constant's acclaimed 19th-century novel, “Adolphe” is a handsomely mounted and smoothly directed costume drama that is fatally undone by its bland lead actor. As Adolphe, a callow, cynical young man who cavalierly sets out to seduce the older, beautiful Ellenore (Isabelle Adjani), Stanlislas Marhar displays zero emotion on screen. His expressionless features and dull personality render Adolphe an impotent creation, which is not conducive to good drama. Adjani fares much better, though her character, an initially aloof society matron who becomes deeply obsessed with her seducer, is a little too similar to the part she played in her debut, “The Story of Adele H.” Despite her stellar work, Marhar's non-acting means Adjani is essentially forced to perform opposite a vacuum. She effectively provides the sexual and emotional sparks in the film but Marhar just as quickly snuffs them out. Starring Isabelle Adjani, Stanislas Marhar and Jean Yanne. Directed by Benoit Jacquot. Written by Fabrice Roger-Lacan. Produced by Laurent Petin and Michele Petin. No distributor set. Drama. French-language, subtitled. Running time: 100 min.
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