There is no actor who portrays the cutting sadness and hope of being in love quite like Juliette Binoche, and it’s a talent she puts to great use in Claire Denis’ high-stakes romantic drama Both Sides of the Blade. Co-written with Christine Angot (who adapted her own novel for the screenplay), Both Sides reunites Binoche with Denis and Angot for the first time since 2017’s Let the Sunshine In, a more effervescent, if meandering, love story.
Sara (Binoche) and Jean (Vincent Lindon, from last year’s Titane) are chic Parisians in a long-term relationship, but a chance run-in with someone from their past, François (Gregoire Colin), throws a wrench into everything they’ve built. Denis expertly tweaks each angle of the love triangle, with Jean being pulled in multiple directions as a father and a put-upon son, while Sara contemplates rekindling a dormant romance. But however impassioned, the characters still feel remote. Without some additional details that either ended up on the cutting-room floor or were not included in the adaptation, it’s difficult to fully connect with anyone, despite the intensely raw catharsis on display. These small issues aside, the performances from Binoche and Lindon make the film well worth seeing, along with an ultimately satisfying finale.
Both Sides of the Blade opens July 8, 2022
Photo, top: Curiosa Films