The Woman in the Fifth
Adaptation explores the grief of estranged husband and father Discuss this article
Pawel Pawlikowski – one of the smartest and least parochial heads in British cinema – directs his first film since 2004’s My Summer of Love, adapting Douglas Kennedy’s Paris-set novel to create a troubling study of loss, exile and despair.
Ethan Hawke is the perfect choice for Tom, a scruffy American novelist and literature professor who arrives in Paris to visit his estranged wife and daughter, but ends up living in a dank suburban hotel run by a French-Arab businessman who puts him to work as a night guard. While trying to make proper contact with his family – his wife has an exclusion order on him – Tom finds solace in both a bookish woman (a well-cast Scott Thomas) and a young, blonde Polish emigré who works at his fetid temporary home.
What’s real and what’s the product of Tom’s confused state is impossible to distinguish. Grief and a cruel search for companionship hang over the film and work to counter some of its more frustrating loose ends.By Time Out staff
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