In the House

Director: François Ozon
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 2.5

A high school teacher (Fabrice Luchini) becomes a mentor for a creepy student (Ernst Umhauer) who uses actual class assignments as a launching pad for his disturbing interest in monitoring and dissecting the seemingly 'perfect' life of a school chum (Bastien Ughetto) who has a hot-headed Dad (Denis Ménochet) and unhappy Mom (Emmanuelle Seigner). I can understand Luchini's interest (as a 'failed' writer himself) in fostering the talent of a young man (and unreliable narrator), but the contrivances in this one are considerable (Luchini's actions are basically egregious, especially risking stealing a test), and its entire structure - with Luchini popping up to guide Umhauer along in his narrative - makes it seem a bit too self-aware to make for particularly tense drama (the strings are always showing). Ozon, always with tongue-in-cheek, clearly regards the Kristen Scott Thomas figure, an arts dealer, as a fraud, while the slimy Umhauer is basically viewed as an actual artist-in-progress - with the women (Seigner, Thomas) out of the way, Luchini and Umhauer are left alone on a park bench (in a 'partnership'), watching all kinds of potential narratives unfold before their eyes. Only in an Ozon would a woman ask her husband if he secretly lusted after a teenage boy and then say 'it's no big deal.' The great Pasolini is name-checked, but this is no Teorema; nice to see a movie that values the written word, though.