The Last Mistress

  • Review Date: July 30, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Lusty yet somewhat tepid French sex drama.
  • Review Date: July 30, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Women discuss ways to "play" the game of love, a la The Rules -- as if deceit and strategy are the name of the game.

Positive role models

A couple engages in an illicit extramarital affair. A kept woman beds
men to maintain a certain lifestyle; she also pursues a married man
even when he tries to cut off ties.

Violence

Two men shoot at each other during a duel over a woman's affections. Later, that same woman slashes her lover's cheek in what's supposed to be a playful manner.

Sex

Plenty of scenes with partial or nearly full nudity (breasts and backsides are bared; couples are shown in a variety of sexual positions). Lots of moaning and guttural sounds made during sex. Some sexually tinged scenes involving blood. Two women kiss briefly.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking in social situations. A woman smokes a cigar in one scene.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens probably won't be clamoring to see this this mature, subtitled drama. It's plenty lusty (including fairly graphic sex scenes with partial and near-full nudity) and doesn't shy away from examining what lies behind obsessive sexual attraction. Married men and women engage in illicit trysts, and some relationships are painted coldly, with sex as the fuel rather than love. And even when it is love that inspires affection, it doesn't seem to be able to triumph over lust. There's also some drinking and smoking and fairly minor violence.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE LAST MISTRESS opens with aristocrats indulging in what one of them describes as the "only sin" left: gluttony. But really, it isn't, as this lusty French-language feature (with English subtitles) set in the 19th century soon proves. Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Ait Aattou) is in love with the virginal Hermangarde (Roxane Mesquida), and despite high society's doubts, her grandmother gives her blessing for them to marry. Never mind that for 10 years, Ryno has been conducting a torrid affair with a Spanish courtesan named Vellini (Asia Argento). After nearly dying in a duel with Vellini's husband, Ryno wins her (she even licks his bloody wounds). But happily ever after isn't in their cards, and Vellini can't let go, even when Ryno marries.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Director Catherine Breillat's film is beautiful to behold, but the story is far from lovely. Here, love -- or is it lust? -- is bared in all its ugly complexities. It's fascinating material, and for a time, it holds -- no, demands -- viewers' attention. But in the end, it's aridly told, despite all the bare breasts and behinds and languorous sex scenes. Instead of seeing Ryno and Vellini's obsession build and unfold, the film revisits their relationship in flashbacks that go on for much too long. The back-and-forth strips the film of any sense of urgency or passion.

That said, Argento gooses the film; she's as bold as bold can be and perfect for her role. But everyone else pales in comparison, though the gossips who trail her and Ryno's journey are a guilty pleasure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what the movie is saying about love and sex. Do the two always go hand in hand? Parents, if you watch with your teens, use this as an opportunity to talk to them about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • Why do you think Ryno and Vellini can't seem to stay away

  • from each other -- even though they don't appear to make each other

  • happy? Should relationships really be conducted with strategy in mind?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 27, 2008
Cast:Asia Argento, Fu'ad Ait Aattou, Roxane Mesquida
Director:Catherine Breillat
Studio:IFC Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Run time:114 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Last Mistress was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old July 6, 2010
AGE
17
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byJustin Loco March 23, 2010

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