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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Olivier, Olivier
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment 03/93 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - sexuality, language

Olivier Olivier, written and directed by Agnieszka Holland (Europa, Europa), is a French film about a dysfunctional family. Disequilibrium in this nuclear unit is caused by Elisabeth's obsessive love of her nine-year-old son Olivier. He receives all her attention, setting off waves of anger in her husband Serge, a veterinarian, and in her 11-year-old daughter Nadine.

When Olivier disappears while on an errand, Elisabeth's mental health deteriorates. Serge leaves for an assignment in Africa and Nadine becomes the sole target for her mother's rage at losing her beloved son. Six years later, the inspector who handled the case comes across a teenage hustler he's convinced is Olivier. The street-wise and manipulative adolescent bewitches his father and mother. He tries to seduce Nadine who has developed telekinetic powers. Is he really Olivier?

This riveting film explores the subterranean emotions which can keep a family together or tear them apart. Agnieszka Holland draws out mesmerizing performances from Brigitte Rouan as Elisabeth and from Marina Golovine as the adolescent Nadine. These two women perform a dance of love and hate. Olivier, Olivier plumbs the depths of disappointment, rage, guilt, and loneliness which can turn families into war zones where all the inhabitants are severely traumatized.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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