Written and directed by Francois Ozon, Hideaway (Le Refuge) is a bitter little tale of life and loss, with the latter coloring the former, even as the former beckons sunnily.
The film starts darkly with a pair of young drug addicts, happily readying their works to shoot up their latest score. Cut to the ambulance carting the girl away to the hospital, while the coroner toetags her boyfriend.
But there's a catch. Not only is the girl, Mousse (Isabel Carre), alive, but she's pregnant with his baby. So his parents, concerned about the well-being of their grandchild to be, try to convince her to abort the child; they don't want any reminders of their late son's folly.
Instead, she decides to have the child. She borrows a small house near the beach, where she can spend the summer of her late pregnancy, soaking up rays and otherwise basking in good health in preparation for delivering a happy, healthy child.
But Mousse is not interested in rebirth. She can't abide by the rules, drinking wine and occasionally scoring some methadone to slake her cravings. Still, she is deeply unhappy, not particularly enamored of pregnancy and bored out of her mind. Her only company -- and her summer savior -- is her late lover's gay brother, Paul (Louis-Ronan Choisy). At first disapproving, he discovers the human side of Mousse, though she does her best to disguise it.
What they share is the disapproval of his parents, who disapprove of his homosexuality. And though he becomes involved with the errand boy who helps Mousse, he is also drawn to her, which forces him to reconsider his own life.
And that, mostly, is what Hideaway is about: a young woman who has cut herself off from the world, about to give birth to the one thing that will firmly tether her the rest of humanity. Ozon examines that equation from a variety of angles and, thankfully, has the acidic but beautiful Carre as his central subject.
Still, given his sharp focus, you will either buy into this film or find yourself irritated and impatient. See it for the pleasures of watching Carre play a character with no interest in acceptance by any one -- or stay far away.
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