By Ron Wells | January 14, 2002

This is the story of a young woman’s struggle to live on following a brutal gang-rape. It’s also French. Knowing that, you’d expect the movie could have turned out any way from harrowing to purely offensive. The end result? …, eh, in the end it’s just a little off, though not for any lack of effort on the part of first-time director Sandrine Ray. The story of 19-year-old Claire’s quick descent into desperation, disconnection, and self-destruction (to the inevitable alarm of her concerned friends and family) is told with a gripping and energetic style. The primary problem seems to be Claire’s portrayal at the hands of Vahina Giocante. Usually it’s a lot harder to discern bad acting when you’re watching it in a foreign language, but sometimes you just know. Then again, maybe it’s just inexperience as an awful lot is asked of the young actress over the long, long course of the film. Material like this needs to grapple onto your soul, but too often I was distracted from the moment by the actress’ occasionally clumsy efforts to act. If I could notice that while I was reading English subtitles, then there really must be a problem. It’s too bad, as most of the time this is an engrossing, well-made (and mostly well-acted) film.

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