This acclaimed and emotionally fought thriller stars Deborah Francois as Melanie, a young woman whose love of music turns in a passion for revenge. Self-possessed and coolly calculating. Melanie finds work as a nanny to the young son of the well-known concert pianist Ariane Foucherat (Catherine Frot). By contrast fragile and insecure. Ariane is taken by her new employee's professional manner and evident musical sensitivity and soon engages her as her personal page turner. But beneath Melanie's seemingly perfect exterior, lies a secret and terrible grudge against Ariane, based on a thoughtless incident from the past that thwarted Melanie's own musical ambitions. Having patiently bided her time for ten long years, she at last prepares to exact her chilling revenge.
- The Page Turner review by Nick from Newcastle upon Tyne
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The Page Turner is a “vengeance” film, in fact if there is anyone in your life you feel like reeking revenge on, recommend this film to them, sit back and revel in the smug satisfaction that you have wasted a good two hours of their life.
A young and promising pianist is taken to an audition by her mother. The film implies that this is an important audition although it's never said. All is going swimmingly, to the obvious glee of a table full of judges in the room, who mutter to each other and nod their heads approvingly. But it all goes pear-shaped, when she looses concentration, stops playing for no obvious reason at all and then does a “Les Dawson” for the remainder of the piece, hitting bum notes while the panel of judges scowl and shake their heads.
The reason she mucks her performance up, you ask? Well, one of audition judges, a famous pianist herself, silently signs an autograph during the girls performance after being pestered by a fan. Not the worst thing in the world to do but, hey, it doesn't take much to set this girl off who mopes out of the audition, slamming a piano lid down on some innocent bystander's fingers, goes home, locks up her own piano for good, vowing to reek revenge.
A ridiculous premise, you might think, not really the judge's fault and if that's all it takes to make her freak out while performing, I would guess that she wouldn't get too far in a career as a concert pianist anyway. Well ridiculous it may be, that's nothing on what's to come.
A decade later and she's still not got over it, even though she's grown up and could get any job she likes on looks alone, she seeks out the piano judge who “wrecked her life” in order to even the score (no pun intended) with acts of terror. When I say terror, if you consider persuading someone's son to practice the piano too much until they get a minor ache in their wrist terrible. Oh yeah, and she follows up this devastating blow with the witheringly devious plan to not to turn up for a performance as a page turner so the pianist just has to get someone else to do it instead. Oh no !
The final act of “bitter revenge” is achieved by implying to the judge's husband that his wife “may” have lesbian tenancies. No affair takes place, the implication itself is pretty vague, just a letter saying “I love you, you've changed my life”. For crying out loud, I don't know why they didn't just replace all of the acts of vengeance in this film with a scene where the girl gives the judge a chinese burn.
Most of the “meticulously planed” acts within the story are purely circumstantial. Getting the job with the Judge, happens through a fluke conversation. Getting picked as her page turner at performances is even more of an accident. Even the implied “relationship”, if you can call holding hands by accident a relationship, could easily not have ever happened if the judge had not had any homosexual leanings, which she may well not have, its so vague you can't really tell. The vengeance carried out seems unintentionally blundered and accidental, mostly ending up targeting people who have nothing at all to do with her predicament, hardly what you would expect from girl bent on a ten year vendetta?
All of this “mayhem” is accompanied by a dialogue of long drawn out silences, meaningful glances, sighing and the odd wistful tear. The camera work and soundtrack are as forgettable as the story and the acting. Turn away now if you don't want me to spoil the ending, but the whole thing climaxes with the judge fainting, that's it, credits roll !
No doubt some people will read this and say that I'm a philistine and I just didn't get the emotion, the underlying message or the beauty of the performance etc. To them, I would say that this is the exactly the sort of boring, pompous dross that turns people away from art house or indie film. Oh and I didn't like “Lost In Translation” either, but you probably would have guessed that.