WINGWOMEN – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Mélanie Laurent’s latest feature, Wingwomen, is a comedic crime caper that feels like a departure from the drama of 2021’s The Mad Women’s Ball. But just as the crime yarn in her indie feature Galveston (2018) took a backseat to the tender relationship between its leads, Wingwomen uses its heists and violence as window dressing. Now airing on Netflix, it’s more about female friendship and how the right people always have your back—albeit sometimes through the scope of a gun.

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AWFJ Presents BREATHE – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Based on a novel by French author Anne-Sophie Brasme, director Mélanie Laurent’s Breathe is a story propelled by the mercurial friendships of teenage girls. The drama rises on the rich performances of its two leads, Lou de Laâge and Joséphine Japy. During their fast and intense relationship, Sarah (de Laâge) accuses Charlie (Japy) of playing the victim—but Sarah’s pretty good at that herself. There are no clear villains and heroes in the film until the tragic (no spoilers) climax.

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THE MAD WOMEN’S BALL (TIFF 2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Melanie Laurent creates a compelling world in which discarded women are blithely mistreated. She has also laid out a strong case for why women of the early 20th century, as in the time of The Snake Pit, as well as women today, struggle with being heard and believed by the mental health and medical communities. The Mad Women’s Ball is the kind of layered, femme-centric and very political story we need more of, and by fearless female filmmakers like Melanie Laurent.

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THE MAD WOMEN’S BALL (TIFF 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Mélanie Laurent’s debut feature The Mad Women’s Ball announces the arrival of a filmmaker of enormous skill and talent. The film is adapted from Victoria Mas’s bestselling novel. Laurent both directs, co-stars in and co-wrote the film adaptation’s screenplay, resulting in a movie that, although being in French, will surely woo even the most subtitle-phobic English language viewer with its powerful story, sumptuous filmmaking style, solid performances and the inescapable contemporary edge to its core thematics.

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