THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH, the latest from critical darling Pawel Pawlikowski left me baffled and then some. Granted, I nodded off a couple of times during the screening -- not for more than a second or two -- but the movie finally made no sense to me on any level or in any genre whatsoever. Not as a mystery, broken family saga, ghost story, crime thriller, and certainly not as an immigrant tale (though the immigrant in question, for a change, is a white guy from the USA). Maybe it's a comedy? Without any laughs.
TrustMovies much at all, you'll know he hates to give away plot elements, but he swears that he could spend the rest of this review spelling out the entire plot, and you would still finish up this piece with a "Huh?" In fact, isn't that rather like the look on the face of the filmmaker himself (shown at left)? Mr. Pawlikowski -- who earlier gave us the much-praised Last Resort (When, I wonder, will this one be available on DVD? I am still trying to see it....) and the also well-liked My Summer of Love -- has directed and adapted his screenplay from the novel by Douglas Kennedy, which TM has not read but is tempted to, if only to learn if it makes any more sense than does the movie.
Ethan Hawke (above, demonstrating that, sometimes, a pair of glasses is just a cigar), is a writer who's come to town (Paris) to see his daughter (shown in the photo at bottom, also wearing glasses).
Samir Guesmi (above left), allows him to stay in exchange for working in a very odd location doing very odd stuff -- all of which has "criminal element" writ large in flashing neon.
Kristin Scott Thomas (above), whom our hero meets and greets and does some other interesting things to.