Aspiring for Supreme Well-Being
Release Date: July 29, 1998
Starring: Sandrine Kiberlain, Vincent
Lindon & Francois Berleand
Genre: Domestic drama
Audience: Mature adults
Runtime: 91 minutes
Distributor: Zeitgeist Films
Director: Benoit Jacquot
Executive Producer: Francoise Guglielmi
Producer: Georges Benayoun & Philippe
Writer: Benoit Jacquot & Jerome
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Please address your comments to:
Nancy Gersteman/Emily Russo
247 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
(Pa, L, SS, NN) Romantic worldview surrounding a married couple; 6 obscenities; no violence; several brief scenes of husband & wife sexually engaged; one brief scene of main character fornicating with nurse; upper & rear female nudity; no alcohol use; and, no smoking.
SEVENTH HEAVEN addresses a French couple's struggle to keep their marriage together from a non-biblical perspective. Mathilde recovers from fainting spells and shoplifting, but her husband experiences difficulty dealing with the change. With great acting, difficult subject matter, sexual situations, and hypnosis used as therapy, this romantic movie examines some delicate family issues.
Not to be confused with the television program, Benoit Jacquot's SEVENTH HEAVEN looks at a French couple's struggle to keep their marriage together. Mathilde (Sandrine Kiberlain), a 29-year-old attractive attorney, is experiencing major depression, walking around in a daze and unable to function at work. Her mother covers up for her at the office, as she is the owner of the law firm. Mathilde's husband, Nico (Vincent Lindon), an orthopedic surgeon is concerned and keeps trying different medications which don't work for Mathilde. Their 8-year-old son, Arthur, is loved by both parents.
Mathilde displays a compulsion in shoplifting toys from the store and then putting them in a bag which she hides in her closet at home. This pilfering, in addition to her fainting spells, has been occurring for about a month simultaneously with the depression. Although it is evident that Mathilde and Nico love each other, they experience sexual problems in their marriage.
After one of Mathilde's fainting spells out in public, a doctor takes her to the hospital. Through hypnosis, a disturbing revelation is made about her relationship with her father.
The movie next illustrates the concept of change that occurs in a family. When one person changes (even if it is for the better), the climate of the family is upset, and the rest of the family has a difficult time adjusting. The other members of the family have become accustomed to the dysfunctional behavior and feel threatened and scared by the changes. So Nico reacts to Mathilde's recovery by feeling fearful and confused.
In a neo-Freudian fashion, SEVENTH HEAVEN portrays the effect that Mathilde's childhood experience currently has on her as an adult and on the rest of the family. Sophisticated cinematography allows the audience to feel the depression and confusion of the characters through the mood that is created. However, there are some confusing scenes which seem disconnected from the rest of the movie.
The acting in this movie is superb. Kiberlain's performance as Mathilde is captivating as she evolves into a confident and radiant woman. Lindon (Kiberlain's real-life husband) depicts equally well the inner conflict he experiences in reaction to Mathilde.
Containing some sexual situations and nudity, SEVENTH HEAVEN addresses some very delicate issues that exist among couples. Regrettably, SEVENTH HEAVEN advocates the use of hypnosis as an effective means to recovery by gaining insight into past experiences and then reconditioning the body and mind to respond differently to current situations. In truth, the only solution to Mathilde's problems is a new life in Jesus Christ, which no one in the movie realizes.