There are actually two hideaways in François Ozon’s meditative Hideaway—the gorgeous, sparsely furnished apartment used as a drug den by wealthy young couple Mousse (Isabelle Carre) and Louis (Melvil Poupaud, star of Ozon’s Time to Leave), and the isolated beach house to which the pregnant Mousse retreats after Louis dies of an overdose. An exploration of familiar Ozon themes (complex femininity, emotional isolation, nuanced sexuality), Hideaway slowly layers psychological detail as the writer-director funnels his staple obsessions into a measured character study of family (chosen and otherwise) and maternal instincts (or lack thereof). Though Mousse mourns Louis, the film centers on her evolving relationship with his melancholy gay younger brother, Paul (Louis-Ronan Choisy), who unexpectedly joins her at the beach house. Prickly and manipulative, Mousse (whose reasons for keeping the baby—defiance of Louis’s aloof mother, longing for Louis, indifference—are rooted in anything but maternal longing) nonetheless slowly connects with Paul, whose outsider status in his own family has left its wounds. Ozon wields his HD camera subtly but potently, using facial close-ups and a slow scan of Paul’s dripping wet body to effectively convey everything from grief to erotic longing. Though the psychological layering and thematic ambition of the screenplay do not quite result in the depth intended, Hideaway‘s unsentimental performances will hook you.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 8, 2010