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Betty Fisher and Other Stories(Betty Fisher et autres histoires)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France, Canada
·
2001

1h 43m

Director Claude Miller
Starring Sandrine Kiberlain, Nicole Garcia, Mathilde Seigner, Luck Mervil

Genre Drama, Thriller, Crime

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Grieving after the death of her young son Joseph, novelist Betty Fisher enters a dark depression. Hoping to bring her out of it, her mother Margot arranges to kidnap another child, Jose, to replace the son Betty lost. Although she knows it's wrong, Betty accepts Jose as her new son. Meanwhile, Jose's mother Carole is looking for her son with the help of her boyfriend Francois and some of his criminal cohorts.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

20

Washington Post by Ann Hornaday

The good news might be that Huppert wasn't available for Alias Betty, but the bad news is that it didn't stop France from exporting yet one more cold, pretentious, thoroughly dislikable study in sociopathy.
80

Dallas Observer by Gregory Weinkauf

What's wonderful about director Claude Miller's adaptation of Ruth Rendell's novel "The Tree of Hands" is its grand capacity for compassion and complexity.
70

Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

As long as Miller simply crosscuts between the machinations of the three mothers, the sociological and psychological parallels are intriguing, but when they're forced to share the same story line, the contrivances and coincidences begin to seem fussily elaborate.
70

The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

A lot goes on, and it doesn't always make sense. But the cast embodies Rendell's ability to incorporate shrewd observations on human behavior into the framework of a crime story, and Miller has a great eye for the places on the Paris outskirts where the lives of haves and have-nots intersect.
90

Los Angeles Times by Kevin Thomas

A confidently adroit thriller that captures a comprehensive sense of life in an edgy, multicultural and economically diverse Paris. The large cast couldn't be better, but the film belongs to Kiberlain.
80

Village Voice by Leslie Camhi

Infusing Rendell's intrigue with warmth and humor, Miller makes the film's sometimes mechanical and giddy narrative into something grander -- a meditation on maternity as a form of inspired madness.
88

Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

What really makes Alias Betty stand out, even from good recent French ensemble films like "Eight Women" and "Venus Beauty Institute," is that ingenious, Rendell-derived story. To kidnap an old phrase, it's a corker.