The Unknown Girl | Chicago Reader

The Unknown Girl

Rated NR 113 minutes 2016

A rare dud from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, the Belgian brothers whose low-key dramas about the disadvantaged show how greed and need force us to betray each other and ourselves. The protagonist (Adèle Haenel), a young, proudly unemotional doctor, is shaken to her core after learning from police that a frantic woman she refused to admit to her clinic after closing time was murdered shortly thereafter. Attacks of conscience are common in the Dardennes' movies, but in this case we're asked to believe that guilt would motivate the doctor to sacrifice a high-paying new job, open a practice on the wrong side of town, and venture into increasingly dangerous situations to determine the dead woman's identity so she can be buried under her true name. Haenel's deadpan performance makes this a tough sell, leaving only the common mechanisms of a suspense plot to move the drama forward. With Dardennes regulars Jérémie Renier and Olivier Gourmet, the latter especially scary. In French with subtitles.

Film Credits

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Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

Producer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd and Delphine Tomson

Cast: Adèle Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jérémie Renier, Louka Minnella, Christelle Cornil, Nadège Ouedraogo, Olivier Gourmet, Pierre Sumkay, Yves Larec, Ben Hamidou, Laurent Caron and Fabrizio Rongione

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