Hidden Love 

Thursday, Mar 3 2011

HIDDEN LOVE In voice-over at the beginning of Hidden Love, Danielle (Isabelle Huppert) informs us of her two failed suicide attempts. This scene-setting is the first indication that, to director-writer Alessandro Capone, suicide is just a plot device. These incidents established, the film depicts Danielle's life, which consists mostly of meeting with a psychologist who looks and acts like a cross between Sarah Palin and Diane Keaton (Greta Scacchi). Her free time is spent writing memories down, one to a single sheet of paper (because this is what mentally ill people do) and expressing her displeasure at being hospitalized by rummaging through drawers and cabinets with the sole purpose of making a mess (see previous parenthetical). Gradually, through a series of black-and-white flashbacks that include a pretentious bit of direct address from Huppert, we learn something of her past, mainly about the pain-in-the-ass daughter (Melanie Laurent) she blames for the end of an affair. Danielle escapes miraculously during a hospital transfer but soon ends up in a second, cheaper hospital surrounded by other patients, and here Capone finally offers a glimmer of subtext: Bourgeois life amounts to a room to oneself in the mental ward. But soon we're offered yet another instance of suicide as dramatic device; it all wraps up with a crane shot–centric happy ending that could be biting if Capone's style weren't so literal. (Phil Coldiron) (Culver Plaza)

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