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ALIAS BETTY


Devastated by the death of her son, a novelist contemplates suicide until her loose-cannon mother has the audacity to bring home a boy she’s kidnapped on the street.

 

CAST: Sandrine Kiberlain, Nicole Garcia, Mathilde Seigner, Luck Mervil, Edouard Baer, Stephane Freiss, Roschdy Zem, Alexis Chatrian, Arthur Setbon

DIRECTOR: Claude Miller

"Claude Miller's finely layered screen adaptation of Ruth Rendell's novel 'Tree of Hands' is such an accomplished piece of filmmaking that it interweaves enough characters and themes to fill three movies...Although plenty of emotional fireworks detonate, 'Alias Betty' maintains a chilly composure while following its volatile characters around...At heart the movie is a deftly wrought suspense yarn whose richer shadings work as coloring rather than substance...'Alias Betty' ultimately rests on the slim shoulders of Ms. Kiberlain, whose Betty is deeply touching without a hint of sentimentality." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"In some respects, Mr. Miller's opus may seem too facile for some tastes. Still, Ms. Khiberlain, Ms. Garcia and Ms. Seigner brilliantly play the three mothers like a dissonant string trio on a single theme: the varied agonies of motherhood...Still, I remain suspicious of redemptive motherhood as a rebuke to 'extreme' feminism, and of the treatment with kid gloves of the film's token African character. It is all too easy." -- Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer

"Does all this turbulence end in violence, bloodshed and spiritual renewal? Of course it does--this is a French film in the classic passionate tradition. Director Claude Miller has performed a splendid balancing act, teasing and entertaining us with his tall, emotionally resonant tale. And it seems fitting that Kiberlain, Garcia and Seigner shared the Best Actress Award at the Montreal World Film Festival. They are a splendid trio, and ‘Alias Betty’ is a genuine beauty." --Guy Flatley, Moviecrazed

"Miller is known as a gifted director of actresses, and the leading ladies here do not disappoint. Betty, Margot, and Carole may represent radically different styles of motherhood, but they're also sympathetic (even if batty or violent) and marvelously vivid. Infusing Rendell's intrigue with warmth and humor, Miller makes the film's sometimes mechanical and giddy narrative into something grander--a meditation on maternity as a form of inspired madness." -- Leslie Camhi, The Village Voice

"'Alias Betty' works as a decent urban thriller. And, on a different level entirely, it's about just why right is right, wrong is wrong, right might be wrong and wrong might be right. And what it all implies about playing dice with the universe." -- John Anderson, Newsday

"...Claude Miller takes that basic story and weaves it together with stories about the kidnapped boy's mother and other characters and comes up with a stylish thriller...Despite a contrived ending that brings together all the film's characters, 'Alias Betty' is inventive filmmaking." -- V.A. Musetto, The New York Post