In Your Hands (4 stars)

In Your Hands

Kristin Scott Thomas and Pio Marmaï star in this claustrophobic French drama

Virtually a two-hander, and physically confined enough that it might have been written for the stage, this film is a risky proposition even before the plot asks you to believe that a woman might find more than just sympathy for her violent kidnapper. With performers less compelling than Kristin Scott Thomas and Pio Marmaï, it could have turned out both drab and offensive – but their joint commitment to their flawed, edgy characters creates a fierce momentum.

Scott Thomas plays Anna, a doctor whose past resurfaces unexpectedly in the form of Marmaï’s Yann, whose life she unknowingly and inadvertently blighted two years before. He wants revenge. She wants – well, one look at Marmaï, plus the fact that this is a French film, should provide an indication of the turn things take. Scott Thomas is getting peerless at this point: not only does she continue to get more beautiful as she ages but her brittle, ambiguous female protagonists conspicuously challenge the overarching convention for onscreen women to be either wholly ingratiating or out-and-out bad.

Selected release from Fri 20 Jul.

In Your Hands

In Your Hands (Contre toi)

  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • France
  • 1h 20min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Lola Doillon
  • Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Pio Marmaï, Jean-Philippe Écoffey
  • UK release: 20 July 2012

Doctor Anna (Scott Thomas) unknowingly blights the life of Yann (Marmaï) so two years later he kidnaps her looking for revenge. But Anna succumbs to Stockholm syndrome in a film where the lead performances elevate the film above its improbable premise.

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