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The Unknown Girl(La Fille inconnue)

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Belgium, France · 2016
1h 46m
Director Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Starring Adèle Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jérémie Renier, Louka Minnella
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller

Jenny, an overworked Belgian doctor, refuses to open her clinic for a mysterious young woman who buzzes after hours. The next day, she learns that the woman has been found dead. Overcome with guilt, she resolves to find out who she was — and who killed her.

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What are critics saying?


Time Out London by Dave Calhoun

Some clunky coincidences and unlikely events confuse the film's mission, and it lacks the clarity and parable-like meaning of the brothers' best films.


The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

Some of the most acute pleasures here are in the doctor-patient exchanges, depicting with a rigorous absence of fuss or sentiment a relationship that's as much intimate as professional.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

The Unknown Girl combines its naturalistic direction with a strong lead performance and topicality, although these ingredients are hobbled by their familiarity.


The Film Stage by Giovanni Marchini Camia

Even the cinematography by the Dardennes’ long-time collaborator Alain Marcoen, usually so instrumental in ensnaring the viewer within their films’ ethical quandaries, is surprisingly flat this time around.


Variety by Guy Lodge

Though what we get is largely exemplary: a simple but urgent objective threaded with needling observations of social imbalance, a camera that gazes with steady intent into story-bearing faces, and an especially riveting example of one in their gifted, toughly tranquil leading lady Adèle Haenel. What’s any great sense of narrative or emotional surprise.


The Playlist by Jessica Kiang

The somewhat drab aesthetic and almost vanishingly understated performance style dull the potential pleasures of a good old-fashioned whodunnit to roughly the luminosity of an above-average feature-length episode of a TV procedural.


Screen International by Lee Marshall

If the intimate frame and dour, matter-of-fact aesthetic suggest a return to the raw territory of La Promesse or The Son, what is new here is a flirtation with genre that lends an extra dose of resonance to a finely-scripted story.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

The Unknown Woman is an odd, dramatically stilted and passionless quasi-procedural concerning a mysterious death; it depends on a series of unconvincing, and in fact borderline-preposterous, encounters and features a bafflingly inert performance from Adèle Haenel, whose usual spark appears to have been doused by self-consciousness.

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