Elle, the new French-language movie from Dutch director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Robocop, Showgirls), opens on the rape of its protagonist, Michèle Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert). From there, Michèle cleans herself up and goes about her day—she’s so resolute in her unwillingness for her life to be disrupted any more than it already has been that she even refuses PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis, which blocks the transmission of HIV) because she doesn’t want to risk the treatment’s minor side effects interfering with her work as the head of a video game company. Michèle’s recent past soon catches up with her as it becomes increasingly clear that her distant past has yet to loosen its grip on her and her life.
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