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Who You Think I Am


‘…modern, intelligent and thoughtful in the way it considers the impact of the internet on our lives; it’s proper cinema, keeping the audience right on edge, and allowing Binoche to give yet another revelatory performance…’

Juliette Binoche may well take the money and run when it comes to appearing in lame blockbusters like Godzilla, but at least she’s tireless in her attentions to home-grown cinema in France. Following on from the excellent Non-Fiction, Saffy Nebbou’s drama also has a literary bent; Binoche plays Claire, a literature professor keen to impart to her students the subtleties of Laclos and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. At the same, time, she’s nursing bruises from a fading relationship; there’s a few things brewing under the surface when she begins cat-fishing a young man online. His name is Alex (Francois Civil), and he works with Claire’s husband on photographic shoots in such far-off areas as Goa; Claire starts a long-distance relationship that’s built on lies and deceit.

Cruel Intentions, the Hollywood update of Laclos’ Dangerous Liaisons, memorably suggested that the internet was the preserve of ‘losers and paedophiles’; Claire is neither, although she is lonely, but social media is not her friend. ‘Social media is both the iceberg, and the life-boat,’ she tells her psychologist. But why is Claire telling this story to a doctor? How did Claire’s relationship with Alex end? This is a French film, so the answers are ambiguous, teasing, sophisticated, powerful in implication; there’s a devastating aerial shot of Claire in Paris that nails the drama when it finally arrives.

Who You Think I Am has plot twists that will automatically generate remake potential, but it’ll be hard to outdo the subtle feel that Nebbou’s film, co-written with Julie Peyr and adapted from Camille Laurens’s novel Celle que vous croyez. Claire is wrong-headed yet empathetic, and while she’s lured into the kind of distant romance featured in Personal Shopper, suspension of disbelief is only temporary, since Claire automatically plants the seeds of her own downfall in her self-destructive behaviour.

Who You Think I Am is modern, intelligent and thoughtful in the way it considers the impact of the internet on our lives; it’s proper cinema, keeping the audience right on edge, and allowing Binoche to give yet another revelatory performance. Films like this are to be treasured; they reflect deep and hard on how we live, and provide food for thought, giving you reason to pause as you reach for yet another online fix and only drops you deeper down the reality tunnel of self-delusion.


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  1. Keep up the YouTube recommendations. I checked out Glitterdome. Binoche is a great actress and one thing you can say about the French is that they don’t let their great actresses turn into turnip as they grow older, they always build good movies around them. Will definitely check this out.

    • Non Fiction was the other winner if you fancy a binoche up. Fresh sophistication abounds in these films with great female stars. Glad you dug Glitter-dome.

  2. This looks like a good one. Making a note to make sure I find it.

    I have really got to start watching more movies, a lot of good stuff is passing me by.

    As to social media, I think it is simultaneously a real danger and also overblown. Every magazine, book, newspaper article about what’s wrong with the world includes a screed against social media. I agree of course that privacy should be managed, that it can cause depression in people (especially young girls) but I do want to point out that we’ve been killing, torturing and playing mind games with one another long before Facebook.

    I’m not defending it, as much as saying we have to examine our own culpibility – and not just pass the blame off to the shadowy “tech bros” behind the curtain.

    • I’m going to ask for some further information on this one…

      we’ve been killing, torturing and playing mind games with one another long before…

      I get where newspapers and tv media are keen to demonize the socials, but wouldn’t you agree that things have gotten worse since the population got their mitts in the internets circa Y2K? How many people did you regularly kill and torture before then? I’m imagining you have some John Wick style secret identity…

      • At the risk of getting too heavy, here goes!

        Overall, I think social media is probably a net negative because it’s ruining our attention spans and leading us down the road to Idiocracy. And worst of all, feeding us more of whatever crap we’re already inclined to believe.

        But I’m not sure the world has gotten any worse, in the grand scope of history. More petty, yes. People spit and hiss at each other on Twitter like the vipers in a 16th century royal court.

        But we as a human race managed the Spanish Inquisition, the Troubles in Ireland, the British generally treating the Scots and Irish like crap, the Salem Witch Trials, 9/11, and China’s Cultural Revolution all without the help of Facebook.

        As to my secret identity, I am a force for good a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  3. Nice to see you are catering to our Français member of the WP4 even if his library is très pantalon. I do like Jules so I wouldn’t mind seeing this.

  4. I often think that people do themselves a lot of harm online. It’s also why I am not a big fan of sharing real names and pictures with complete strangers. I was fine with facebook when it was limited to people I knew and wanted to know, but once it got to the point where the degree of separation was “hey, I know Bruce, who knows Becky, who lives next door to your Uncle Peanknuckle”, well, I left. And my real self hasn’t been online since.

    Bookstooge is a good buffer. I’m leading no one astray because it’s pretty obvious that’s not my name or my real picture. It also helps the dangers the other way. I value my relationship with Mrs B that I want to do everything possible to protect it.

    I obviously won’t be seeing this movie, but it is a warning that most people seem to think doesn’t apply to them. I wish more of them would heed the message and realize it DOES apply to them.

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