Have you ever faked it? In the intriguing psychological thriller Who You Think I Am, a middle-aged woman creates a fake Facebook profile to lure a much younger man. He’s on the hook, and she’s besotted, but the pair never meet.
She is teacher Claire Millaud (Juliette Binoche), who assumes the name of Clara. She has a casual sexual relationship with Ludo (Guillaume Gouix), many years her junior, who isn’t all that into her. To spy on him, she creates a false social media identity and lures in Ludo’s unknowing friend, photographer Alex (François Civil). In next to no time, they fall deeply for one another, but he thinks she’s a 24 year-old woman. All unravels while Claire undergoes counselling in a facility.
Director Safy Nebbou and co-writer with Julie Peyr adapt Camille Laurens’ novel of the same name. The movie really kicks up a gear in the final act. Before that, as interesting as its concept is, I found Who You Think I Am painfully slow going. Still, social media has a lot to answer for. What an interesting “Mrs Robinson” concept to explore in the current tech savvy age.
Loneliness,obsession and guilt are explored. The need to be desired drives the central character, who fears ageing (like, I dare say, many of us). The world is geared around twenty-somethings and she’s the “wrong” side of 50. But she goes to problematic lengths to deal with her need.
Juliette Binoche is mighty in the lead. It’s very much her movie and Binoche ensures her character is unforgettable.
So, while for me the scripting and pacing needed tightening, the last act twists gave me plenty to enjoy.
Director: Safy Nebbou
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Gouix, François Civil
Release Date: 1 August 2019
Rating: MA 15+
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.