I’m not sure this is how you do the Heimlich maneuver.

Theatrical Release Date: 11/19/2010
Director: Catherine Corsini
Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sergi López, Yvan Attal, Bernard Blancan


Yes. It is fair. Now go to your room.

Showing audiences a dramatic moment as the film opens, only to then shift backwards in time to give us context, is an overused technique and apparently one that director Catherine Corsini couldn’t resist in her latest effort, “Leaving”.

Of course, I can’t say much more about the ending (or the beginning) without spoiling things but the bottom line is that the impact of the events that close out the film would have been much more powerful had Corsini not shown exactly where she was headed.

The basic plot is that Suzanne (Kristin Scott Thomas) is content in her marriage to Samuel (Yvan Attal), though the passion has long since gone for her. Along comes burly construction worker, Ivan (Sergi López), and we now have an affair in the making. There are kids involved but their well being isn’t really considered.

On the positive side, Corsini did a great job of casting. Thomas has always been good at playing women tortured by a conflict of the heart, while Attal and López provide such a nice dichotomy of controlling stability versus free spirited passion. The supporting players do their bit but aren’t asked to do much, which is fine since the story is all about the love triangle. Also, cinematographer Agnès Godard made great use of her talents to show the actors and the landscape beautifully.

Still, while the actors were doing what they asked and some of the scenes really took advantage of the light, the story just fell flat. Even at 85 minutes, the film seemed to drag on a bit, despite the quick start to the affair; perhaps building the problems in the marriage a bit more would have helped me identify with the characters and become more invested. As it stands, this is just another tale of a wife unsatisfied with her life who reignites the passion in herself via a change of bedroom companion.

Fans of Kristin Scott Thomas speaking French (a talent she’s used before and just as effortlessly) may find more to like here but I think you could grab just about any of her other movies off the DVD shelf and find more enjoyment. A 2 out of 5, “Leaving” isn’t a terrible film but it fails to excite the senses in nearly every manner possible, ‘leaving’ a bland taste in the cinematic palette (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). Sadly, this can easily be skipped or forgotten – your choice.

2 out of 5