Ladies Be Manipulative: Power-mad and Out for Revenge in Love Crime


“Want it…and watch out,” ruthless corporate veep Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) instructs younger associate Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) in this silly tale of boardroom humiliation. The final film from Alain Corneau, who died last year and is best known for 1991’s All the Mornings of the World, Love Crime begins unpromisingly with some lez titillation between the two co-workers: A shoulder rub and a neck kiss by Christine, accustomed to claiming her assiduous junior colleague’s ideas as her own, leaves besotted Isabelle momentarily distracted from her spreadsheets. When Isabelle overshadows her mentor by pleasing the American bosses of their agri-industry firm, Christine punishes the striver by disgracing her at an office party—how much you buy Isabelle’s elaborate payback scheme depends on whether you believe, as screenwriters Corneau and Nathalie Carter must have, that France has the most incompetent police force in the world. As was the case when she played opposite Charlotte Rampling in Swimming Pool (2003), Sagnier’s limited abilities become even more glaring when she’s paired with a gifted performer like Scott Thomas. But even KST is left floundering as the misconceived, underwritten totem of today’s amoral, power-mad executive, wearing flowing trousers and medallion necklaces not seen since Faye Dunaway demanded a meeting in Network.