February 5, 2005 -- “Intimate Strangers,” Confidences trop intimes) is a very strange French movie about a troubled woman, Anna (Sandrine Bonnaire), who tells her most intimate secrets to a stranger, thinking he is a psychiatrist. It turns out she has told her secrets to a meek tax accountant, William Faber (Fabrice Luchini), into whose office she mistakenly entered, instead of the psychiatrist's office down the hall.
After she discovers the truth about Faber she angrily confronts him. It turns out he was too timid to set Anna straight. Anna decides to continue her visits to Farber, finding the sessions helpful. Soon Farber finds himself caught in the middle of a love triangle. The relationship grows more complex. The entire story takes place on the threshold of romance, that prelude to intimacy when two people are deciding how much of themselves to reveal to each other.
Farber seeks romantic advice from his former lover and psychiatric advice from the psychiatrist down the hall, Dr. Monnier (Michel Duchaussoy). Dr. Monnier finds this whole affair amusing, but offers some smart insights (for a fee). Farber wants to know what to do next, but he is in uncharted territory. He receives threatening visits from the woman's husband. He finds what began as an exercise in curiosity has gotten him up to his neck in a situation he might not be able to handle, but he finds Anna too alluring to give up on.
The film is static and claustrophobic enough that it could have been a play. Almost the entire movie takes place in one room. It doesn't quite ring true, but it is absorbing, nonetheless. The acting is very good. The film develops these characters fully. The film is directed with just the right touch by Patrice Leconte (“The Man on the Train”). This film rates a C+.
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