The Double Lover finds eclectic filmmaker Francois Ozon at his most pulpy and playful, tackling the sexy, psychological thriller with the same pastiche for kink and hedonism as many of the filmmakers who've made a career playing in the genre. Sexy, subversive, and unabashedly assured in its willingness to play in pop psychology, The Double Lover is a diabolically enjoyable romp detailing the fragile psyche of one woman as she struggles with identity, oppressed under the weight of past trauma. The narrative, centered around a fragile young parisian whom soon finds herself falling in love with her charming therapist, The Double Lover plays with many of the same thematic assertions related to sexual desire, identity, and power one would expect; playing a game in which objective reality is a fleeting concept, due to this young, fragile Parisian woman being the audience's conduit in this story. The Double Lover is a film in which the journey itself is just as compelling as the destination, understanding its pulpy nature as it plays in psychological horror. Ozon implores an aesthetic which matches the film's pulp premise, one which is mysterious and foreboding; encapsulating the internal psyche of its main protagonist through use of cinematography that is both structured, through symmetry, yet disorienting, due to its impressionistic nature. What unfolds isn't so much a story with a satisfying conclusion but one that is intoxicating in its playful and subversive assertions related to identity seen through the prism of sibling rivalry and companionship, one in which the ride itself is quite enjoyable. Traversing pop-psychological mysticism related to identical twins in its deconstruction of the power dynamics related to sex, love, and companionship, The Double Lover is a twisty, subversive piece of filmmaking which satisfies due in large part to a filmmaker assured enough to swing for the fences.
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