Wednesday, November 2, 2022

French Movie Mercredi: Monsieur Hire (1989)


When Monsieur Hire came out I was 16 and saw it in the theater in my town because I was studying French and took every opportunity to hear and practice the language. I was a regular at the theater but they really should not have let me into a movie whose tagline should be: Psychosexual Obsession- When You're Georges Simenon and Patrice Leconte, It's What You Do!

I did not know at 16 that the movie was based on a Georges Simenon book, (Les Fian├žailles de Monsieur Hire, or Mr. Hire's Engagement, roughly) but I was not at all surprised to learn this when I saw it again recently. It did make me a fan for life of the director, Patrice Leconte, and I've seen a number of his movies since. I haven't read the book, but the movie has an atmosphere of claustrophobic eroticism similar to other Simenon books I have read, like Tropic Moon and An Act of Passion. And it's definitely of a piece with Leconte's other works.

It's been a while since I've seen it but I have to say it holds up.

Monsieur Hire, played by Michel Blanc, is a reclusive loner who likes to watch his neighbor, pretty Alice, played by Sandrine Bonnaire, through his window. Alice has a boyfriend who may be involved in a murder. Monsieur Hire is not well-liked in his neighborhood and is openly suspected of the murder himself. He then gets into his head that he is actually in love with Alice and things kind of go downhill from there.

I enjoyed this movie for its suspense and its subtle sexiness. The ending is a downer but what can you expect from the dynamic duo of Simenon and Leconte. I saw it on Kanopy which I've mentioned before; it's a free streaming service available to many U.S. public library patrons. If you like thrillers with a tinge of eroticism this might be a good choice for you. Adults only though.

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