Who You Think I Am 2019

Celle que vous croyez

Directed by Safy Nebbou World

Juliette Binoche is terrific in director Safy Nebbou’s intriguing cautionary tale about a divorced university professor who reinvents herself as a younger, more desirable woman online.

France In French with English subtitles
101 minutes DCP
M
sex scenes & sexual references

Director

Producer

Michel Saint-Jean

Screenplay

Safy Nebbou
,
Julie Peyr
,
Based on the novel by Camille Laurens

Photography

Gilles Porte

Editor

Stéphane Pereira

Production designer

Cyril Gomez Mathieu

Costume designer

Alexandra Charles

Music

Ibrahim Maalouf

With

Juliette Binoche (Claire Millaud)
,
François Civil (Alex)
,
Nicole Garcia (Catherine Bormans)
,
Marie-Ange Casta (Katia)
,
Guillaume Gouix (Ludo)
,
Jules Houplain (Max)
,
Jules Gauzelin (Tristan)
,
Charles Berling (Gilles)
,
Claude Perron (Solange)

Festivals

Berlin 2019

Elsewhere

Juliette Binoche delivers a sultry, complicated turn as a woman hiding behind a virtual alter ego in this haunting French psychodrama. Director and co-writer Safy Nebbou’s tale, based on Camille Laurens’ 2016 novel, opens with 50-something French literature lecturer Claire Millaud (Binoche) introducing herself to new psychologist Catherine (Nicole Garcia). Although initially reticent in her company, it doesn’t take long for the divorced mother-of-two to launch into her sordid backstory. 

After a messy breakup with her much younger boyfriend Ludo, and upset at his sudden disappearance, Claire decides to create a new, younger persona online, with the aim of reconnecting via Ludo’s best friend Alex (François Civil). Posing as 24-year-old fashion intern Clara Antunes, Claire’s online banter and photogenic looks soon have Alex hooked and desperate to meet her in real life. But something about Claire’s story – and where she got Clara’s image from – doesn’t quite ring true.

While very much a reflection of modern-day mores (Claire describes social media as both “a shipwreck and a life raft” for her), there’s also a timeless aspect to what unfolds, mirrored in Claire’s choice of reading material for her latest batch of students – Les Liaisons dangereuses. Binoche, superb as ever, grounds the film’s riveting, sometimes surprising narrative turns with a performance to rival Isabelle Huppert’s icy music conservatory professor in The Piano Teacher and Charlotte Rampling’s repressed crime novelist in Swimming Pool. — James Croot