Marie is deeply in love with her husband, Jean. One day while vacationing at the seashore, Jean disappears into the ocean. A distraught Marie notifies the authorities, but sadly, they find no trace of her beloved husband. But when Marie sees Jean in her apartment and at breakfast the next morning, it quickly becomes apparent that Marie's imagination enables her to go along in life as if nothing happened to Jean...
Rampling plays Marie married to Jean, Bruno Cremer. We first meet them as they drive from Paris to their holiday home in the south-west of France. He seems depressed, she seems to be trying too hard at being happy. They go to the beach the next day. While she's lying in the sun, he goes for a swim and doesn't come back. She's distraught. She returns to Paris and continues her social life, pretending that her life with Jean is ongoing, as indeed it is, because he's a presence in their apartment. Her inability to let him disappear from her life interferes with the possibility of a new relationship with Vincent, Jacques Nolot.
This beautiful, austere film deals with grief. We can only make educated guesses at Marie and Jean's life, but we are given clues. But there are questions: she has no idea of his diagnosed depression, how it that possible when, because she is unable to have children, he is the focus of her life. Marie seems increasingly like a shadow, a person who isn't actually there. In this spare, beautifully composed film, you look at it just to look at it. Ozon creates a possibility of worlds that's very challenging, and Rampling is as beautiful as ever, inhabiting the enigma of her character perfectly and stylishly.
Comments from David Stratton: A beautiful, sad film about bereavement, and about the how the sudden loss of a partner can create a powerful effect on the survivor. Charlotte Rampling's intense performance is the centrepiece of a moving, intelligent film.