The New Girlfriend
Drama | French with English subtitles | 107 minutes
The New Girlfriend opens with a funeral. Laura, Claire’s friend from childhood, has died. Claire is bereft as Laura tells Claire, before dying, to take care of her husband David and their infant daughter, Lucie. Shortly after the funeral, Claire pays an unannounced visit to David’s house. Finding the door unlocked, Claire enters the house and sees a woman cradling Lucie. The agitated woman excuses herself and returns a few minutes later. It’s David, who was dressed as the woman. David explains to a shocked Claire his compulsion to cross-dress. At first, an angry Claire calls David a pervert. But, slowly, Claire begins to understand and gives this “woman” the name Virginia. Claire promises David not to tell her husband, Gilles, about David’s secret. Claire and Virginia begin to have dates and go shopping together. But after Virginia is seriously injured after being hit by a car, Claire eventually realizes her relations with Virginia and her husband are in danger of fracturing.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 80%
- Metacritic Score: 74
- César Awards: Nominated, Best Actor (Romain Duris)
- London Film Festival: Nominated, Best Film
- San Sebastián International Film Festival: Winner, Best Film
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One of its greatest pleasures is seeing how filmmaker François Ozon manages to be simultaneously funny, touching, slightly unnerving and undeniably sexy, regardless of where your predilections lie.
By turns mischievous, sentimental, subversive and silly, this seriously-comic exploration of cross-dressing, gender fluidity and desire suggests the career-opening salvo of a cheeky cinematic enfant terrible and not the work of an old hand with well over a dozen features behind him. But that’s one of Mr. Ozon’s gifts; he makes everything old feel new and fresh.
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