‘Who You Think I Am’ – Juliette Binoche plays a role on Prime Video

In Who You Think I Am (France, 2019) Claire Millaud (Juliette Binoche), a middle-aged literature professor and divorced mother of two teenage boys, creates a social media profile of a 25-year-old model. It’s a bit catfishing done on a whim to check up on a younger lover who just dumped her, but she ends up connecting with his roommate, keeping the fictional persona as she engages in a virtual relationship.

What begins as a possibly harmless bit catfishing veers into territory closer to Fatal Attraction, yet this is no thriller but rather a mix of psychiatric mystery and psychological drama. The story unfolds in flashbacks framed by sessions with a psychiatrist (Nicole Garcia), who gently prods her to reveal facts she has kept hidden, most importantly that her husband left her for a younger woman, whose image she appropriates for her fictional identity. “I wasn’t pretending to be 24,” she explains to her therapist. “I was 24.”

And the focus is not on the young man (played by François Civil as an earnest, passionate student) who falls for the fiction but on Claire, whose emotional wounds from her husband’s betrayal have not healed. As the sessions go on, layers of fantasies and self-delusions are stripped away and her story is constantly reframed and redefined.

Director Safy Nebbou keeps the film focused on Claire and Binoche carries the film with her vivid performance as a woman who publically guards herself behind an impenetrable mask, projecting confidence while slowly allowing her vulnerabilities to emerge. In private, however, her emotions swing wildly from elation to depression to desperation, all of it beautifully and powerfully conveyed by Binoche.

The constant twists and revelations give the film the quality of an intellectual mystery story but the film is ultimately more concerned with ideas of identity, relationships, guilt, desire, self-image, and the lies we tell others and ourselves.

Based on a novel by Camille Laurens, it and costars Guillaume Gouix and Charles Berling.

Not rated, features sexuality and adult situations. In French with English subtitles.

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Who You Think I Am [Blu-ray]
Who You Think I Am [DVD]

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The DVD and Blu-ray both feature a 36-minute featurette (in French with English subtitles).


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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