After the relatively straightforward narrative styles of 2014’s Young and Beautiful and 2015’s The New Girlfriend, director François Ozon has been getting into a downright playful mood. His previous film, Frantz, was a black-and-white, occasionally experimental riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, so it makes logical sense that his new film Double Lover plays like a straight-up homage to Hitchcock’s biggest disciple, Brian De Palma. Ozon is fascinated with themes of gender roles and sexual dynamics — much like Hitchcock and De Palma — but without their underlying misogyny and/or homophobia, so it’s a perfect match.
The anorexic and depressed Chloé (Marine Vacth) enters into therapy with the kindly Paul (Jérémie Renier), and after deciding that she’s cured and they’re in love, they move in together. In spite of that totally wise and healthy decision, things go strange when Chloé begins to suspect Paul is living a double life. Double Lover is based on The Lives of Twins by Joyce Carol Oates writing under a pseudonym, so themes of twinning and double identity are baked into the source material — and Ozon uses De Palma-esque split-screens and mirror imagery even before shit starts going truly bugfuck. There are also hints of body horror throughout, and if Ozon decides to go full-on Cronenberg with his next film, then the fun would truly be doubled.
Now playing at the Opera Plaza Cinema and the AMC Dine-In Kabuki.