Oscar 2016: Isabelle Huppert Oscar Caliber Performance in Verhoeven’s Elle

elle_3_verhoevenIsabelle Huppert is simply and clearly astonishing in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, appearing in each and every scene, rendering what is clearly an Oscar-caliber performance in a tough and demanding role.

My review of Elle, a darkly humorous tale of sexual politics, centering on one complex (to say the least) woman, and including the controversial issue of rape, will appear later today.  But for now, suffice is to say that this is a major comeback for director Verhoeven.

elle_4_verhoevenAppearing in each and every scene of the film, which smoothly changes tone from one setting to another, Huppert dominates the saga with a performance that’s nothing short of brilliant.  She is so perfectly cast that it’s hard to imagine any other actress of her generation playing this complex and demanding role in such a subtle, multi-nuanced mode.

elle_1_verhoevenIn the aptly titled Elle, Huppert gives her most fully realized performance since The Piano Teacher, in which she also excelled in playing a tough and demanding part, a femme driven by bizarre, even perverse sexual desire.

I cannot think of any another French actress–not even Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani, Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, all fantastic and beautiful performers–who have dissected women’s erotic desire and sexual mores and manners as deeply and thoroughly as Huppert had in her extraordinary forty year screen career!

By the way, all four aforementioned actresses have been nominated for an Oscar, and two of them have won: Juliette Binoche, Best Supporting Actress in 1996 for The English Patient (which was an American film in English), and Marion Cotillard, Best Actress, for the 2008 French biopic of Piaf, La Vie en Rose.

At 63, Huppert, who strangely enough has never been nominated for an Oscar, is at the prime of her game.