Who You Think I Am Review – Captivating, Magnetic Story Driven Performances

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Who You Think I Am, from Cohen Media Group, presents the merging of a modern love story, interweaving the duplicity of social media, the anticipation of pleasure that accompanies each exchange, and the freedom of deception.

As the film begins, we meet Claire, played by Juliette Binoche, engaged in a sexual liaison with her younger lover, Ludovic, played by Guillaume Gouix. He, a modern Parisian independent, very contemporary, lives without the constraints of relationships and even after explaining he would spend the weekend, the next morning he calls an uber and when they are in the car, the distance between them is more than age.

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Feeling slighted, she takes to social media and studies his social media pictures, groups of friends, all about the same age, engaged in life with each other.

While she is researching his pictures she finds Alex, played by François Civil. She is taken by him and in an effort to payback her former lover, she immediately sets up a fake social media account and tries to friend him. He accepts and soon they are exchanging texts.

Each conversation builds into a closeness, and she is so into the chase, that to conquer, to know that the possibility is there, she continues communicating with him. Soon he asks for a picture, and she is forced to find a picture of someone that matches the description she gave him in their initial conversations and settles on a beautiful picture she finds on the web. Once he has the picture, the superficial correspondence between them quickly escalates towards intense intimacy and uncontrollable obsession.

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Claire is also seeing a therapist, Dr. Catherine Bormans, played by Nicole Garcia, to deal with her issues of abandonment. More than simply holding on to youth or even being envious of the freedom of youth, she embraces and compartmentalizes her desires. As we see in her real life, she has two sons and is processing the divorce of her husband who left her after twenty years of marriage for someone half her age.

As the lines between the real world and her social media deceptions blur, her hidden passions and pursuits consume her, and she agrees to meet Alex. She stands on the train platform as he searches the crowd for the picture as she watches him, studies him. That night she breaks it off.

We find later when she is still so controlled by him, that she approaches her ex-lover Ludovic to find out about him, which is when we find out he drove himself off a cliff. Claire is beyond distraught. She channels the pain by writing a novel, and the second half of the film is devoted to bringing the pages to life as she processes the pain of loss and the wonder of possibility which as the writer she controls.

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Juliette Binoche delivers a masterclass performance. She effortlessly weaves into her character the emotions of her personas. She is the young lover, the middle-aged divorcee, and the accomplished professor, and the patient who understands at some level the need to address her issues of abandonment.

François Civil who many may know from the French comedy series, Call My Agent, delivers an easy, natural performance as he moves through the emotions of life, love, heartbreak, passion, and infatuation. He is equally engaging and together with Ms. Binoche create strong screen chemistry.

Who You Think I Am, a compelling contemporary love story with electrifying and magnetic performances, opens in theaters in New York and Los Angeles Friday, September 3, 2021. See it.

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Country: France.

Language: French with English Subtitles.

Runtime: 101minutes.

Director: Safy Nebbou. 

Writer: Safy Nebbou, Julie Peyr, based on the novel by Camille Laurens ©Gallimard 2016. 

Producer: Michel Saint-Jean, Diaphana Films.

Cast: Juliette Binoche. François Civil, Catherine Bormans, Nicole Garcia, Katia Marie-Ange Casta, Max Jules Houplain, Tristan Jules Gauzelin, Gilles Charles Berling, Solange Claude Perron. 

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