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The Mad Women's Ball(Le bal des folles)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France

2021

2h 1m

Director Mélanie Laurent

Starring Lou de Laâge, Mélanie Laurent, Emmanuelle Bercot, Benjamin Voisin

Genre Drama, Thriller

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After confiding to her grandmother that she can see spirits, Eugénie Clary is forced by her family to be treated at a neurological clinic in Paris. There she meets Geneviéve, a nurse who agrees to help Eugénie escape from her seemingly inevitable fate.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

Film Threat by Alex Saveliev

The Mad Women’s Ball avoids caricature or stereotype, though the grounds it walks may seem somewhat familiar. Laurent treads them with skill and passion, immersing us into a period wildly different and dishearteningly similar to ours.
72

TheWrap by Alonso Duralde

What some might find dramatically unsatisfying about the film’s climax directly comments on the inequities of the era and the limited options offered to women, and there’s no shortage of rich storytelling, acting, and visual potency leading up to it.
75

The Film Stage by Christopher Schobert

The Mad Women’s Ball represents a noteworthy achievement for Laurent—a tremendously compelling, emotionally shattering period piece bearing at least three mighty performances from de Laâge, de Dietrich, and herself.
58

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

The Mad Women’s Ball capably sells the fact that Salpêtrière was a naked reflection of the institutional sexism that existed outside its walls, but Laurent’s eagerness to confront the barbarism of Charcot’s hospital tends to stifle the finer details of a story that hinges on female empowerment.
91

The Playlist by Marya E. Gates

Laurent’s portrait of women pushed to the edge of society, exploited, and tortured for the sake of progress is uncompromising and fearless.
80

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

Contrived and possibly overheated though the film might be at times, there is real storytelling gusto to it, and Laurent punches it across with relish.
75

The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Sarah-Tai Black

Laurent is determined in mapping the depiction of the patriarchal violence endured under both the supposition of scientific method as well as the social order of the world outside of the institution; however, the film struggles to keep a similar pace and substance within its story world.
80

Screen Daily by Wendy Ide

The latest picture from Melanie Laurent is a strikingly beautiful production which delves deep into the ugliness at the roots of psychiatric medicine.

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