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Le Divorce is a hard film to follow. The story starts simple enough when Isabel (Kate Hudson) arrives in Paris to visit her sister Roxy (Naomi Watts), who is three months pregnant. Just as Isabel arrives, however, Roxy’s husband Charles-Henri (Melvil Poupaud) is walking out the door without an explanation, with no intention of coming back. From here, the film goes off in all sorts of different directions as Isabel begins having numerous love affairs and Roxy has issues with her French divorce settlement and a strange and potentially violent stalker. A painting that has been in the family for several generations also fits in somewhere along the line.

Le Divorce
A very important question comes into your head about a quarter of the way through Le Divorce. It’s strange because it’s the question you usually ask before the film, not during. That question is just what is this movie all about? What exactly is it trying to do? If it is trying to be a comedy, it is not funny. If it is meant to be a drama, it’s not compelling. If it is meant to be a cultural exploration and comparison, the elements which usually make up such a movie do come up, but only for a short time. In fact, all issues regarding French-American culture clash are abandoned mid thought, something which can be very frustrating. The film also makes one really stupid move later on when all of a sudden we find our characters being held at gun point.

Also very hard to follow is who each character is. The characters of Watts and Hudson are given the majority of the screen time so we get to know them quite well. However, several other characters played by some pretty serious talent are poorly introduced making it hard to figure what their part in the film’s story really is. Examples are in the characters of Glenn Close, Bebe Neuworth, Stockard Channing and Matthew Modine. Each gets a tiny little introduction then feature as fairly important people in the various stories, making the film even harder to follow while we guess who half the characters are. Naomi Watts is always appealing though.

Le Divorce
There is only really one word to describe Le Divorce, and that word is empty. This film is just so empty that the only reason you keep on watching is to see if anything actually happens. Nothing much occurs until the final chapter, in which the film suddenly turns into a light thriller, the change of pace becoming really unwelcome. Aside from this change, Le Divorce starts and ends with very little progress in plot or character exploration, making the whole experience quite a waste of time. Although nothing much does happen in this film, for some reason it wasn’t boring (I should know, I watched it at 2am). It’s quite funny because a movie about nothing generally leads to boredom. This is exactly what afflicts Le Divorce yet for some reason there were never any yawns or watch-checking. Perhaps that was the point of the film? Although this still does not hide the fact that nothing much happens, so save your time. If you are a fan of Kate Hudson or the lovely Naomi Watts then you may find something to like in their dominant screen time, but otherwise approach with caution.

Video
Le Divorce is presented in its original theatrical 2.35:1 widescreen ratio. Aside from a few hardly noticeable problems, the video is pretty close to perfect. The only problems noticed were the odd flicker or film artefact in the lower left hand corner of the screen. You can hardly see them though. There was also a mild colour problem where some blacks come out in a shade of dark blue, but again, they are hardly noticeable. Otherwise, everything here is perfect. The other colours are all vibrant and beautifully saturated. Skin tones and shadow details are all perfect and there didn’t appear to be any grain at all. It is a very nice transfer indeed.

Le Divorce
Audio
Le Divorce gets an English 5.1 Surround track as well as Russian and Polish tracks in 2.0 Stereo. For a film of this type, the surround mix is very good with crisp, clear dialogue all the way through and no sync problems at all. The surrounds aren’t called on much but do provide some wonderful ambient effects and on occasion some great directional effects (most noticeable is a scene later in the film where an ambulance drives away). There is some nice music spread through the speakers as well. As for the sub, it’s not used much at all. Music is pretty soft in this film so it’s not much help there, but it did give a nice kick in one bizarre scene where a gun was fired. A very nice use of a 5.1 track for this type of movie.

Extras
No extras. They must have been on the other side of a divorce settlement. But you have to wonder, aside from maybe the trailer, are there any extras worth putting on here?

Le Divorce
Overall
Le Divorce is a film which seems to have absolutely no direction. It is one big empty film which is so plain that at times it seems like a really slow(er) episode of Big Brother. The film just floats along until the final 10-20 minutes in which things just go way too far. Naomi Watts is appealing, but otherwise it’s a slow film which is really hard to follow. Those who love their video and audio, however, get a treat here with almost reference material for this genre. There are no extras sadly. Overall, it is very much a mid-range release.


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