NON-FICTION (Doubles vies)

(director/writer: Olivier Assayas; cinematographer: Yorick Le Saux; editor: Simon Jacquet; cast: Juliette Binoche (Selena), Guillame Canet (Alain Danielson), Nora Hamzawi (Valerie), Vincent Macaigne (Leonard Spiegel), Christa Theret (Laure), Pascal Greggory (Marc-Antoine Rouvel), Antoine Reinartz (Blaise); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Charles Gillibert, Olivier Pere; IFC/Sundance Selects; 2018-France-in French with English subtitles)

“It plays out as a delicious witty farce about the changing modern-world, that’s fast-paced and well-acted.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

French writer-director Olivier Assayas (“Carlos”/”Personal Shopper”) smartly helms this talkative high-brow romantic comedy about literature, adultery and sex that’s set in the Parisian publishing world. It plays out as a delicious witty farce about the changing modern-world, that’s fast-paced and well-acted.

The respected and urbane publisher/editor Alain (Guillaume Canet) meets with the fortyish bohemian author Leonard Spiegel (Vincent Macaigne), someone he regularly publishes even though he can’t stand him or the trashy sex novels he writes. This time he refuses to publish the latest of Leonard’s thinly veiled accounts of his own wild love life, as his publishing house attempts a contemporary move to digital platforms.

It’s a wonder to Alain that Leonard’s very together political consultant wife Valérie (Nora Hamzawi, standup comic) stays with him. That thought could also apply to his mistress of six years, Selena (Juliette Binoche), a classically trained actress who stars in a hit cop TV show. It turns out Selena is Alain’s wife.

Alain also has a mistress, Laure (Christa Théret). She works for him at his publishing house as the digital-media consultant. Throughout the film there’s spirited talk in these literary circles if the digital revolution is good or bad for the world, as all the right questions are asked but no definite answers are given.

REVIEWED ON 12/23/2019  GRADE: B+