Some movies fill you with so much ecstatic truth that you need a few days to go back to them and write a critique. This is one of them.
It is a book adaptation, so it did not spring from any spontaneous cinematic reflexion. That may seem a tad dangerous at first, because we expect cinema, not illustrated literature. The only way this can work is if the director has a good sense of the medium. Good news, he does.
True love is not possible in real life, but it is in art, and Haneke’s camera encompasses a strict non-judgemental affection. Huppert reciprocates. I have never seen anything like this before. Actions happen the way they happen in our dreams: conscious sequences objectively observable. In the terms of Ted, this is accurate folding, the reality of our personal insights playing into the reality of the film.
Thematically we have something very heavy to deal with: art as repression of natural rhythm, rhythm in art, intelligence over emotional intelligence, acting vs. over(re)acting, teaching as repressed frustration. The rest is stuff they teach you in psychology. It can be very interesting if you are interested.
Godardian feat: the opening credits keep intermmittently displaying till 17 minutes into the film. They appear as intertitles, white font on black screen, with the soundtract muted, apparently a Haneke trademark. When we have forgotten about them, they come back. They do this back and forth. This is cinema letting you know it is cinema. The folding occurs when you feel forced to take it as life.
It is frigthening to consider how good Huppert is here. Her acting alone makes us reconsider the way we feel ourselves exist in the world. Gazes. Where the eyes look. These are important acting considerations.
Please see this. Haneke reinvents the way we perceive ourselves. This is depersonalization and if you are lucky to feel it, it is life-altering, and very much worth your time.