A marked improvement upon its source material—a slightly misogynistic novella and a minor short story by Hanif Kureishi—Patrice Chereau's film is both an observant portrait of class-bound London by a foreigner and an empathetic look at sexual passion that completely avoids cheap prurience. Like Chereau's previous Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train, Intimacy benefits from cinematographer Eric Gautier's brilliant use of a handheld camera and imaginative wide-screen compositions. The threat of bathos is also kept at bay by the assured performances of Mark Rylance, as a troubled English bartender who strays from his marriage, and Kerry Fox, who masterfully embodies the woman who meets him for weekly sexual trysts. A subplot involving Fox's jealous husband (played with considerable flair by Timothy Spall) is grating, but Chereau's tone is, for the most part, intelligently restrained. 119 min.