25.05.2023 / 18:05
‘Last Summer’ Review: Catherine Breillat Makes Her Comeback With a Thorny Affair Between a Teen and His Stepmom
Peter Debruge Chief Film Critic It began in the son’s room, when father was away on business. L’enfant thought it was l’amour, but for her, 30-odd years his senior, the sex, lies and audiotape were a mistake. Wild at heart, she’d yielded to the taste of … oh, never mind. Competing for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Catherine Breillat’s “Last Summer” echoes films that have come before — most notably, 2019 Danish drama “Queen of Hearts,” on which it’s based — but it proves most daring in the ways the film departs for its more conventionally moralistic source, and especially in Breillat’s refusal to call either party a parasite. Yes, the affair between a lawyer and her 17-year-old stepson is a betrayal — of her marriage, of her parental responsibilities, of everything she stands for as an attorney — but that’s nothing compared to how the 50-ish woman deals with it when word gets out in this thought-provoking domestic drama. In reviewing the original, Variety’s Guy Lodge wrote, “you can practically envisage a Robin Wright-starring U.S. remake” — which isn’t far from the truth. Backed by fearless producer Saïd Ben Saïd (“Elle”), Breillat gives us the great Léa Drucker (who played far more responsible moms in “Close” and “Custody”) in the role of Anne, who’s introduced representing an underage girl in a sex-crimes case.