Alias Betty

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, ...
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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.
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/11/2003
  • UPC: 720917017884
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Lorber
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sandrine Kiberlain Betty Fisher
Nicole Garcia Margot Fisher
Mathilde Seigner Carole Novacki
Luck Mervil Francois Diembele
Edouard Baer Alex Basato
Stéphane Freiss Edouard
Roschdy Zem Dr. Jerome Castang
Alexis Chatrian Jose Novacki
Arthur Setbon Joseph Fisher
Technical Credits
Claude Miller Director, Screenwriter
Francois Dompierre Score Composer
Yves Marmion Producer
Annie Miller Executive Producer, Producer
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