L’Empreinte de L’Ange

This psychological thriller has a kind of old school feel to it. There is no blood (okay maybe two bloody noses), no creepy music or things jumping out. It just constructed with good acting (especially on the part of Catherine Frot), a tight script and plenty of suspense to boot.

Elsa (Catherine Frot – Me and My Sister, Le Dîner de Cons) is divorced from her husband (Michel Aumont), sharing custody of her son (Arthur Vaughn-Whitehead), and works in a pharmacy. Her life is a mess as she cannot get over the accidental death of her infant daughter.

While picking her son up from a birthday party Elsa sees a young girl (Héloïse Cunin – first film) and she believes that this girl is her dead daughter. Elsa becomes obsessed with Lola and her family. She stalks the family at all hours of the day and is not able to sleep. Becoming more and more desperate to spend time with Lola, Elsa pretends to be interested in buying the family's house. Lola's mother, Claire (Sandrine Bonnaire – Prague, Never Ever), begins to suspect that something is not right about Elsa. Claire's suspicions mount when Elsa begins to show up everywhere they are.

Finally she confronts Elsa and Elsa turns the tables on her by saying she believes that Lola is her daughter. Elsa wants to have a DNA test done. Claire freaks out and tells Elsa to stay away from her and her family. The struggle between these two women has only just become.

What is truly shocking about this film is that it is a true story. This stuff actually happened! Amazing! At certain points I was questioning how this woman could have recognized her daughter seven years later after having last seen her when she was five days old. I guess I can accept the premise that the bond between mother and daughter is so strong that time apart cannot erase it. The ending (which I won't talk about) is also a little unbelievable. But get past all these doubts because the payoff of the film is worth it.

But after moving on from that point you really are blown away by the excellent acting by the two female leads. They go head to head as two matriarchs who want to defend/have what is theirs. Bonnaire and Frot really sink their teeth into these two juicy roles.

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