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Isabelle Huppert excels at playing tough, individualistic women, but she can just as easily dial it down for more fragile performances, so it was only a matter of time before she landed a role that let her have it both ways. In Serge Bozon’s peculiar comedy “Mrs. Hyde,” she’s a beleaguered French schoolteacher who gets struck by lightning and taps into the much more powerful, vindictive side of her personality lurking beneath the surface.
It’s a fascinating role in an uneven but frequently insightful movie riddled with amusing asides and enigmatic developments, partly because Huppert doesn’t undergo a radical transformation. Instead, she subtly finds herself at war with her inner confidence, and it’s often hard to tell which side has the upper hand.
Mrs - Hyde - Adaptation - Robert - Louis
“Mrs. Hyde” has been billed as a loose adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” and it’s certainly the more enticing interpretation of the material to reach movie screens in 2017; the other, a dull raging maniac played by Russell Crowe in Universal’s misbegotten “The Mummy,” implied the assumption that the idea of a bipolar scientist was still an exciting concept. For his fifth feature, Bozon doesn’t actually import the material beyond using it as a vague reference point. The title is more of a symbolic gesture toward a society that represses intelligence until it self-destructs, and in that regard, the movie couldn’t be more timely.
Much of “Mrs. Hyde” unfolds as an off-kilter tale of a teacher plagued with hellaciously disobedient students, which puts many of its scenes in the tradition of “Half Nelson” and “The Class” as it generates sympathy around a soft-spoken instructor struggling to help rebellious teens absorb some life lessons. Bozon, however, injects his own specific tone into the material.
Director - Tangents - Quirky - Exchanges
The director tends to veer off on tangents and relish quirky exchanges that...
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