'The Crime is Mine' - Hilarious Moments, Fabulous Costumes & A Series of Twists and Turns

"The Crime is Mine" via IMDb.

Gay French filmmaker François Ozon, like gay Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, has a way of creating the most unforgettable female characters onscreen. Ozon’s latest movie, “The Crime is Mine” (Music Box Films) is no exception. As with his 2002 crime/comedy/period piece “8 Women” (which also starred Isabelle Huppert), he surprises and delights us in equal measure.

Set in Paris in 1935, “The Crime is Mine” opens as struggling, young actress Madeline (Nadia Tereszkiewicz) flees in tears from a meeting with handsy producer Montferrand (Jean-Christophe Bouvet) after turning down his offer to become his mistress in exchange for a part in a play. Back at the apartment she shares with Pauline (Rebecca Marder), an inexperienced lawyer, they are faced with more crises. 

First, their rent is several months overdue, as are their utilities bills. Then Madeline’s tire heir beau André (Édouard Sulpice) breaks it to her that his father has arranged a marriage for him that will save the struggling company. As if that’s not enough, Mr. Brun (Régis Laspalès) from the police arrives with the news that shortly after Madeline left his house, Montferrand was discovered dead and she’s a prime suspect.

Fortunately for Madeline, most of the men involved in investigating and prosecuting the case are a bunch of bungling idiots. Even though inexperienced Pauline is her lawyer, the odds are in their favor. This is particularly true because Madeline didn’t kill Montferrand. However, in a strange turn of events, Madeline decides to confess to the murder when she meets with investigating judge Rabusset (Fabrice Luchini). In the courtroom scenes, reciting the lines written for her by Pauline, Madeline gives the performance of her life and is acquitted.

Suddenly thrust into the limelight after being headline news during the trial, Madeline, as well as Pauline, experience a reversal of fortune. Madeline is showered with gifts, flowers, and invitations, but alas no money. Nevertheless, she does get cast in the play that was being produced by the late Montferrand, in addition to making her movie debut.

Now living the high life, and enjoying the perks, nothing could possibly prepare the young women for what comes next. The entrance of down-on-her-luck former silent film star (who never made it in the talkies) Odette (Huppert), who is Montferrand’s “one and only killer.” She has the murder weapon, as well as his wallet containing all his identification papers. Odette, who accuses Madeline of stealing her crime, threatens to turn herself in unless she gets her cut.

The plot gets even kookier after that. Full of laugh-out-loud moments, fabulous costumes, a certifiably crazy performance from Huppert, and a share of twists and turns, it would be a crime if you missed “The Crime is Mine.” 

Rating: B+

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