Kristin Scott Thomas just gets better and better – and braver.
She turned 50 earlier this year, but her recent roles have been ever more challenging, more daring, and more revealing.
She stripped herself of make-up for her acclaimed 2008 role as a grief-stricken ex-con in I’ve Loved You So Long, and in her new film Leaving she goes even further, giving a performance of astonishing emotional and physical candour.
The part she plays in French director Catherine Corsini’s romantic melodrama looks, initially, to be well within her comfort zone. Suzanne is another of those figures drawn from the ranks of the haute bourgeoisie, an upper-middle-class wife and mother married to a successful doctor (Yvan Attal) and living a life of considerable ease in Nimes in the south of France.
Yet all this changes when for she begins an affair with Sergi Lopez’s Ivan, the Spanish ex-con turned handyman who’s been working at her home. Their liaison is much more than a fling; it’s a real amour fou: passionate and crazy, driven by sweaty sex and bad decisions.
Suzanne’s transgression provokes her coldly arrogant husband to icy fury and he takes every step he can to ensure that she gives up her lover and returns to him, stripping her of all her former social and economic status. Suzanne, however, is not prepared to give up her mad love easily…
Corsini’s story veers close to lurid melodrama, but her star’s performance is so committed, so nakedly honest and real, that we’re convinced by every (mis)step her character takes.
Suzanne risks everything for love and self-fulfilment. As an actress, Kristin Scott Thomas is proving equally fearless.
On general release from 9th July.