The premise of Claire Darling is simple. A late -middle aged bourgeois lady (Claire; played by the great Catherine Deneuve) is living in a delightful family home in the French countryside. One day, and for no stated reason she decides to have a “Yard Sale”. It soon becomes apparent that she is selling everything including priceless family heirlooms and objects saturated with family memory, for pennies. Her family have various reasons for being aghast, depending on who they are. In fact, as family litmus tests go, this yard sale certainly fits the bill. Claire is interrogated, screeched at, berated and begged, but she sails above the consternation she has caused, if not oblivious, then at worst, slightly pained. Catherine Deneuve brings an odd calm to the character of Claire, sailing above the storm clouds she has caused like a bright, untouchable full-moon. She is still the quintessential French film star and in this film proves it yet again.
The suspense in “Claire Darling” (and there is a fair whack of it) is caused by the desire to know what the old bat is up to. When pressed she says that today is her “last day” but refuses say what she means. The audience is dragged inexorably towards a conclusion that the unlucky few will have guessed before the film’s (unexpected by me) wholly satisfying climax.
A very good solid script, very adequate acting, good technical work, and Catherine Deneuve add up to a very worthwhile entertainment. Recommended.
(C) Alex Rieneck 2019