Alias Betty

Alias Betty

Director: Claude Miller

Cast: Claude Miller, Sandrine Kiberlain, Nicole Garcia, Mathilde Seigner

     
 
A woman's grief and her mother's madness lead to strange and unforeseen consequences in this offbeat drama based on a novel by Ruth Rendell. Betty Fisher (Sandrine Kiberlain) is a promising young writer who has a four-year-old son, Joseph (Arthur Setbon). Betty's mother, Margot (Nicole Garcia), comes to visit her from Spain. Betty's relationship with Margot is

Overview

A woman's grief and her mother's madness lead to strange and unforeseen consequences in this offbeat drama based on a novel by Ruth Rendell. Betty Fisher (Sandrine Kiberlain) is a promising young writer who has a four-year-old son, Joseph (Arthur Setbon). Betty's mother, Margot (Nicole Garcia), comes to visit her from Spain. Betty's relationship with Margot is difficult at best; Margot is emotionally unstable, and once attacked her daughter with a pair of scissors when she was a child. While spending time with Margot, Betty loses track of Joseph for a while, and the boy is severely injured when he falls out of a window. While Joseph is rushed to the hospital, he never regains consciousness and dies later that day. Betty is understandably distraught, and as she sinks deep in sorrow, Margot snatches Jose (Alexis Chatrian), a boy the same age as Joseph who is the son of Carole (Mathilde Seigner), a waitress with a serious drug habit who often delegates care of her child to her new boyfriend, Francois (Luck Mervil). Margot claims that Jose deserves a better parent than Carole, and she gives him to Betty to care for; while Betty is fully aware of the impropriety of Margot's action, the loss of Joseph has left such a void in her life that she reluctantly accepts the child as a way of dealing with her sadness. Betty Fisher et Autres Histoires was directed by one-time Francois Truffaut associate Claude Miller.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Francois Truffaut protégé Claude Miller based this film on the thriller The Tree of Hands by Ruth Rendell. Miller's lighter, more pedestrian adaptation doesn't offer much in the way of suspense or action, but it's very effective at portraying the brittle relationship between a mentally ill mother, Margot (Nicole Garcia), and her repressed adult daughter, Betty (Sandrine Kiberlain), a successful and reclusive novelist grieving over the sudden death of her young son. That mother-daughter relationship is made indelible in the first scene of the film, wherein Margot affectionately caresses the hair of the young Betty moments before attacking her with a pair of scissors. Margot's ill-conceived effort to salvage their bond is at the heart of the film. Garcia is excellent as the emotionally obtuse, heavily medicated mom, and Kiberlain does outstanding work as a repressed young woman who finds herself opening up to the new child in her life. While these two actresses are on the screen, the film possesses a real power. Unfortunately, Miller spends a great deal of screen time on slightly less compelling secondary characters, including a neglectful young mother, Carole (Mathilde Seigner), her goodhearted but unlucky immigrant boyfriend, Francois (Luck Mervil), and her former boyfriend, the self-involved scam artist Alex (Edouard Baer). These actors, particularly Mervil, do a creditable job, but their story lines don't have the emotional weight of that central relationship, and as a result, the cumulative power of the film is diffused. Betty Fisher and Other Stories would have been better off focusing more on Betty Fisher and less on other stories.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/11/2003
UPC:
0720917535524
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
NR
Source:
Fox Lorber
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:41:00

Special Features

16 x 9 anamorphic presentation; 5.1 Mix; Making of featurette; Theatrical trailer; French film trailer gallery; Filmographies; Weblinks; Subtitle control

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Flashback
2. Joseph the American
3. The Window
4. Emergency
5. José
6. Clubbing
7. Mourning
8. A New Boy
9. Houseguest
10. Disappearance
11. Interrogation
12. The Bath
13. Alex
14. Visit Ends
15. Chance Meeting
16. Edouard
17. House for Sale
18. François vs. Alex
19. Christmas Eve
20. Blackmail
21. Carole's New Job
22. Deal Closes
23. Last Meeting
24. Credits

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