The latest outing from French filmmaker Safy Nebbou, Who You Think I Am tells the story of Claire, a woman in her fifties who’s a divorced teacher that decides to play out a mid-life-crisis fantasy over the internet. So, she creates a fake Facebook profile of a young 24-year-old woman named Clara to spy on her on/off lover Ludo, to get close to him, she sends a friend request to his assistant pal Alex, who accepts and they begin an online affair. As this affair drags on, it becomes intense, erotic, overwhelming and even, at times, unsettling despite it being at a distance.
As the film goes on, the more and more Claire becomes addicted to becoming Clara, almost to the point where you begin to question who’s more real than the other. The thrill of electronic online interaction becomes more of an addictive thrill for her, finding comfort in her phone or her computer than her own family, even neglecting her own children. This is an almost unsettling portrait of a woman who’s becoming removed and detached from the responsibilities and rules of the normal, physical world, exploring the themes of isolation and intimacy in the modern world of electronics and online interaction.
It’s also ironic that Claire is a professor of literature and the authorship of characters, only for her to create her own character in Clara. It’s a deeply fascinating story that works on so many different and profound levels. Juliette Binoche is such a captivating, mesmerising screen presence, as she normally is, the film is mostly fixed on her the whole time as we see going through this dichotomy of being two people and rediscovering the drive for love, lust and desire.
Given current situations, virtual, online interaction has become the norm, so this film will probably strike a particular chord with certain audiences, especially since this film tackles some of those subject matters in a profound and mature way. Who You Think I Am is an enthralling piece of cinema that strongly benefits from a compelling story with intriguing ideas at the heart of it, while also benefitting hugely from a superb performance by the ever-magnificent Juliette Binoche.
Dir: Safy Nebbou
Scr: Safy Nebbou, Julie Peyr
Cast: Juliette Binoche, François Civil, Nicole Garcia, Marie-Ange Casta
Prd: Michel Saint-Jean
DOP: Gilles Porte
Music: Ibrahim Maalouf
Country: France, Belgium
Runtime: 101 mins
Who You Think I Am is available to view now on Curzon Home Cinema