By Adam Ray Palmer
The jury president at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Juliette Binoche, is not only deciding who wins what; but she’s also starring in her very own flick too.
Binoche anchors Safy Nebbou’s Celle Que Vous Croyez (Who You Think I Am in the English language) as it receives a Berlinale Special Gala.
Who You Think I Am follows Claire (Binoche), a 50-year-old lecturer who has a successful career but a dismal love life. She is sleeping with Ludo, a man half her age with a life of adventure to live. She slowly gets left behind as he leaves to build a beach bar. To try and keep tabs on Ludo, she creates a fake social network profile called Clara.
However, whilst online as the 24-year-old beauty, Ludo’s friend and photographer assistant Alex falls for her. What ensues is a virtual love affair that turns into a catch and mouse chase of truth from everyone involved.
Claire is lost and lonely. She longs to be youthful, free and to be called pretty all the time. Alex can give her that, but only virtually… and to her alter-ego Clara. Along the way, Claire’s porkies get bigger and bigger, with many twists and turns. Included in this warped catfish story are her two kids who provide Claire with an element of realism, but also a way to find out what her ex-husband is up to.
In the mix too is Claire’s therapist. The film is told chronologically, but in the past. We see flashbacks of the good times, bad times and then also a future that is entirely believable but fabricated in her own mind and novel. Claire seems completely normal on the surface, but don’t all sociopaths? Her deeper secrets transpire as the 100-minute movie beats along and we learn pretty quickly that she’s so wrapped up in her character, it’s pretty dark.
This movie is a solid message about today’s social world. You don’t have to be a cyberbully at school or an older sexual predator to use the web in a negative way. Who You Think I Am centres on a successful and beautiful career woman, longing for a thrill. Whilst Claire is losing it more and more every day as Clara, you can’t help but feel for her as the breakdown of her marriage has clearly ripped her apart.
Safy Nebbou’s movie is an entertaining watch, and his script is humorous and slick. There’s many layers and it offers an interesting angle to a saturated genre. In recent years, there’s been many films of this nature; and although this isn’t completely original, the movie benefits from a concise screenplay. Celle Que Vous Croyez is worth adding to you watch list in 2019.
Cineroom’s rating: 3.5 stars
Celle Que Vous Croyez will be released in France later this year.