The film spans several years in her life and that of her family, covering moments both important and relatively inconsequential. It’s a credit to Hers’ contemplative, never intrusive observational style that by the end of the two-hour running time we know them intimately.
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The film’s greatest achievement is the measured and elegant gaze on a woman in the prime of life, often referred to as middle age, whose desires (both sexual and professional) are neither diminished nor pathologized.
An airy, low-key drama that doesn’t suffer for its lack of narrative tension, The Passengers of the Night further proves the old adage about the journey mattering more the destination.
This is a film that doesn’t set out to push your emotional buttons all that hard, or even at all. But it covers a surprising amount of narrative ground and there is always something engaging and tender to it.
Gainsbourg is riveting in her portrayal of the intricacy of this pattern, her hands grasping for the tangibility of doorframes when words seem far too futile, her back arching and contracting to respond to ecstasy and sorrow.
In its unassuming, intuitive way, the film is rather beguiling, if a little gauzy and elusive at times.