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Elle opens with Michèle (Isabelle Huppert) enduring a sexual assault from a home invader. This scene is revisited multiple times, both mentally and in actuality, as the assailant continues to strike. These repetitions play with your head, partly because it is sickening to watch the scene play out over and over again and partly because Michèle is so seemingly calm when coming to terms with it. She eventually unmasks her attacker and gets her own twisted revenge. Meanwhile, she is dedicated to her job at a videogame company developing an aggressively sexist World of Warcraft-style game, so score one for thematic consistency. Also, weirdly, there is also an acidic family dramedy going on, which certainly can realistically exist alongside the nastiness, but surprise, surprise: its ordinariness may actually be the film’s most button-pushing quality.

I give Elle 8 Pants Around 10 Ankles.

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