Hold Me Tight movie review & film summary (2022)

ytsfreeSeptember 8, 2022

Director Mathieu Amalric (a well-known actor from “Quantum of Solace,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” and many more) plays with perception in his excellent drama “Hold Me Tight,” making it difficult to review without spoiling the major revelation that comes about a third of the way through, but I’ll do my best. Suffice to say, Amalric uses the power of film in his adaptation Claudine Galea’s play to do things that wouldn’t be possible in any other form. His drama moves through time, space, and even imagination in a manner that starts to become clearer but also resists traditional interpretation. We have been trained to look for clues and “solve” movies, but “Hold Me Tight” truly opens up when you start admiring it emotionally instead of logically. It’s a powerful piece of work with poetic direction and incredible work from Krieps, an actress who increasingly feels like she’s never going to miss.

As Clarisse seems to start a new life on the coast, “Hold Me Tight” cuts back to her family, including her husband Marc (Arieh Worthalter) and children Lucie (Juliette Benveniste/Anne-Sophie Bowen-Chatet) and Paul (Aurele Grzesik/Sacha Ardilly). Lucie plays the piano and Paul plays in the yard, adjusting to life without their mother. Or are they? Again, it’s difficult to explain what’s happening in “Hold Me Tight,” but you should know that it’s not a traditional melodrama about a destroyed family. There’s a lyricism to the scenes set back at home, snapshots of family life that don’t exist for Clarisse anymore, and just the sense of disconnect between her and the family builds a palpable emotional energy before the twist of the film delivers its gut punch.

From the beginning, something isn’t quite right with Clarisse. She snaps at a stranger with his son for mistreating him; she grabs ice from a fish market and covers her face with it. It starts to become clear that “Hold Me Tight” is toying with, well, everything. It jumps in time and even reality, becoming something increasingly lyrical even as it ostensibly answers questions about “what’s really happening.” It’s a daring, complex journey for any actress, and Krieps is fearlessly able to roll with it, collaborating with Amalric to be organic and grounded just enough to keep the film from spinning off into the poetic ether. It’s hard to anchor a film with so much emotional and practical diversions in order to keep the character from being like a pawn to the filmmaking, but Krieps never falters.

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