Remembering Paul Verhoeven’s ELLE

Paul Verhoeven’s Elle is a wonderfully oblique thriller. Isabelle Huppert stars as a successful business woman who is violently attacked in her home. She doesn’t report it to the police and attempts to discover the identity of the attacker. Meanwhile, her personal life becomes increasingly complicated as her wayward son becomes a father, her ex—husband gets a younger girlfriend and her affair with a friend’s husband comes to an end.

Verhoeven blends drama and thriller elements and he doesn’t take any easy options in this 2016 French language film. He’d never had gotten away with this in Hollywood and the film presents many curious scenarios for how the film ultimately plays out. The heavy-lifting is done by Huppert, who gives a powerful and committed performance in the lead role.