“Hold me tight”, a puzzle-style family drama

Hug me tight *
by Mathieu Amalric
French film, 1 h 37

It seems to be the story of a woman who leaves. The synopsis of Hug me tight says both little and a lot about the story Mathieu Amalric seeks to stage in his eighth feature film.

In the early morning, Clarisse (Vicky Krieps), drawn features and diaphanous beauty, seems leave the family home for good. With regret. She hesitates, retraces her steps, caresses her husband and her children, still asleep. Is she going get the hell out ? Is she really gone? She constantly retraces her steps, crossing acquaintances and friends, according to a deliberately confused temporality. Does she meet them before or after she leaves? Mathieu Amalric purposely blurs the tracks.

Meanwhile, her husband, Marc (Arieh Worthalter) and her children seem continue to live, despite everything. The absent is very present, like a ghost haunting the surroundings and the spirits. Marc hears her distinctly, speaks to her aloud and sometimes repeats what she whispers in his ear to explain to their children the reasons for this long journey “. But is all this real or the fruit of the imagination of Clarisse or Marc?

Stifled poetry

Through a swirling ballet of images, sunny memories mingle with the harsh reality of the present time, without knowing what is dream or truth. One foot on solid ground, another in the haze of her thoughts, Vicky Krieps excels in this type of role.

Revealed in Phantom Thread, poisonous romance of Paul Thomas Anderson (2017), the Luxembourg actress more recently embodied with disconcerting naturalness a filmmaker plagued by emotional disturbances in Bergman Island, by Mia Hansen-Love, released this summer in the wake of its Cannes selection.

→ CRITICAL. “Bergman Island”, the couple’s island of vertigo

But a good performance does not save a film from its pitfalls. By repeating itself to lose the viewer in the confusion of emotions, the narrative process ends up boring and stifling any poetic intention. It even becomes annoying when the mystery is (quite quickly) lifted and the supposedly intoxicating round of staging and camera effects continues.


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