Isabelle Huppert gives a performance of astounding emotional intensity as Erika Kohut, a repressed woman in her late thirties who teaches piano at the Vienna Conservatory and lives with her tyrannical mother (Annie Girardot), with whom she has a volatile love-hate relationship. But when one of Erika's students, the handsome and assured Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel), attempts to seduce her, the barriers that she has carefully erected around her claustrophobic world are shattered, unleashing a previously inhibited extreme and uncontrollable desire.
This film is in French language with English subtitles. Having admired writer-director Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ (2012) and having a soft spot for actress Isabelle Huppert, I had expected to like this film better than three stars. It is a rather unpleasant journey into the sexual desires of what we used to call in less politically-correct times an “old maid”. She lives with her mother, teaches piano has a messy affair with a boy student. An atmosphere of repression and brutality hangs around the film, and it has no likeable characters. The quality of writing is high and so is the standard of directing. Perhaps it is more suited to cinephiles than to general viewers.