Magazine article Screen International

'Mrs Hyde': Locarno Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Mrs Hyde': Locarno Review

Article excerpt

Isabelle Huppert is struck by a bolt of lightning in Serge Bozon’s reworking of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic.

Dir: Serge Bozon. France. 2017. 95 mins

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde has rarely seemed as strange as it does in Mrs Hyde (Madame Hyde), a modern-day reworking of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic that reunites Isabelle Huppert with Tip Top director Serge Bozon. Significant elements of the story survive in a film that attempts an idiosyncratic hybrid of black comedy, social commentary, special-effects and advanced physics. It achieves stray laughs and some clever moments, but not enough to render it more than a strained curiosity.

Faithful to the Robert Louis Stevenson text, Mrs Hyde grows darker as it unfolds, and there is a growing sense that it may all have to end badly.

Huppert gamely grabs a comparatively rare chance to play comedy as Marie Géquil (pronounced Jekyll of course), a physics teacher at the Arthur Rimbaud Lycee. Timid and unable to either inspire or control a class, she is despised by unruly pupils who sense her weakness and feast on it. All fluttery gestures and cowed shoulders, Marie has the look of a rabbit trapped in the headlights and seems constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Working after school one stormy night, she is struck by a bolt of lightning. She seems unharmed but is definitely a changed woman. She is possessed of a new calm authority and boundless amounts of energy. Everyone can see the difference, including genial house husband Pierre (Jose Garcia in a role originally announced for Gerard Depardieu), who assumes it might have something to do with the menopause.

Marie’s touch can now burn through wood, melt ice or carbonise unwary dogs. …

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