A film completely out of time, old-fashioned in its sentiment and unabashedly and wildly melodramatic, Partir is something you will need to be in the mood for - but if you are, you’ll be richly rewarded, not least because Scott Thomas and López as the star-crossed lovers throw themselves into their roles with unguarded abandon (and some naked skin).
Scott Thomas is the wife of a rich doctor with teenage kids; she is in the process of restarting work as a physiotherapist, when she meets Ivan, the handyman. It’s immediately clear that the two belong together, and after a short delay caused by her need to overcome the class difference, Suzanne recognizes this. In fact, the only person who has trouble coming to terms with it is Suzanne’s husband. At first understandably surprised because everything has happened so quickly, then successively more obsessive, he simply doesn’t want to let his wife leave and pulls all the stops, from extortion to violence. Likely or realistic - at some point it’s irrelevant because the story is so compelling.
PARTIR (DIE AFFÄRE) (France 2009) Directed by Catherine Corsini with Kristin Scott Thomas, Sergi López. French OV, with some Catalan and English. Starts January 28. Rating: 3/4