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Secret de banlieue

Secret de banlieue
Joannie Lemay

Joannie Lemay

Screen Time: 75%
Role: Ariane
Age: 11 years old
Roxanne Gaudette-Loiseau

Roxanne Gaudette-Loiseau

Screen Time: 95%
Role: Catherine Béland-Trudeau
Age: 13 years old

 

Secret de banlieue

2002
Suburban Bliss (Canada: English title) (DVD title)
Rating: 8.33 (21 votes)
Directed: Louis Choquette
Country: Canada
Language: French
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama, Thriller
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0339643

Summary

Catherine, a rebellious pre-teen who has been deeply affected by her parents’ divorce, plays a game which involves crossing a dangerous road with her eyes closed. She becomes friends with the girl next door, the quiet Ariane, to the consternation of Ariane’s father, David. Although he appears to be a model father, David is in fact obsessed by the need to protect his daughter. As such, he tries – unsuccessfully – to prevent Ariane from coming under Catherine’s bad influence. Ariane takes up smoking, starts telling lies, and begins to explore her sexuality. While Catherine’s mother attempts to seduce the handsome, and single, David, he sets a trap for Catherine. For Catherine, living dangerously is no longer a game, and she has to summon all her strengths in order to survive.

Movie Reviews

Exceptionally Well Done Suspense Movie

One Montreal newspaper really panned this movie; Cinema Montreal's respondents rated this movie 8.9 out of 10. I agree with the ordinary viewers and wonder about the 'profession critics!' The back cover is somewhat misleading; it seems to be a movie about a really nice sixth grade girl, Arianne, who moves next to a rebellious girl her age (Catherine), and becomes brought down by her new friend. However, this is really a suspense movie in a very upscale Montreal neighborhood about an obsessive father who more than wants to protect his daughter; being a dentist, he often uses drugs to make her sick (to keep her from doing activities he doesn't want her to do, such as going to the water park). When his daughter's friend, Catherine is threatened by a big dog, the dentist uses pepper spray to get the dog off; then secretly kills the dog when he gets in trouble with the authorities for using the pepper spay.

Catherine, out sneaking a smoke at night, sees the dentist feeding poison to the dog, and this starts her gradually increasing danger to and then from the dentist. When Arianne's baby-sitter crosses the father, he quietly kills her and disposes of the body to make it look like a mugging. But he forgot about her purse, and Arianne gets cigarettes from the purse to increase her friendship with Catherine. When the purse that Catherine knows was still in the house after the baby-sitter disappeared shows up in a newspaper photo by the body, she puts two and two together and then things really heat up for her. I won't tell you the ending or what happens; I hope this is just enough to portray a descriptive picture of the plot.

The two little girls in this movie are simply adorable. Yes, Catherine is a bit of a smart-mouth and rebellious, but it is understandable from her family situation. In the end, she and Arianne become good friends. Although the movie is subtitled, one quickly forget he's reading the dialogue unless it flashes too quickly on the screen. It is very realistic in its portrayal of the girls and the situation, with the suspense building at just enough pace so you don't lose touch with your feelings for the girls. Indeed, my wife wondered what would happen to Arianne when her father was found out, and agreed when I said I'd be happy to adopt her!

You may have to look long and hard for this movie, and pay a quite high price for it, but if you like exceptionally well done suspense movies, this movie really is a nine out of ten! The reason is that you really care for the girls rather feeling tense because of the usual violence/fear of most suspense movies.