Diary of a Chambermaid

Director: Benoît Jacquot
Year Released: 2015
Rating: 2.0

Bitter house servant Célestine (Léa Seydoux), who has a sad past, goes to work for petty tyrant Madame Lanlaire (Clotilde Mollet), must repeatedly dodge the aggressive advances of Monsieur Lanlaire (Hervé Pierre) and eventually teams up with co-worker and anti-Semite Joseph (Vincent Lindon) - who might also be a child murderer (!) - in order to escape (steal the silver!). The narrative, operating in familiar territory - the master/slave relationship between the rich and poor - doesn't offer any new insights or surprises in what comes across as a stodgy period piece (with decadent acts done in secret): it springs to life, ever so briefly, when Célestine is hired to care for a sickly young man (Vincent Lacoste) ... but after she screws him to death (really, she does) she has to return to the same-old Lanlaires. Seydoux and Lindon do what they can to add dark intensity to the proceedings, but if Luis Buñuel and Jean Renoir couldn't make much of the Octave Mirbeau story, it was probably a lost cause to begin with. I don't see a lot of filmmakers lining up to adapt Mirbeau's The Torture Garden ... hint, hint Mr. Noé.