NOT AVAILABLE ANYMORE TO STREAM ON NETFLIX. NOW AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX DVD. The name Violette Leduc may never have reached French or American households as often as other famous writers. However, her ambivalent relationship with Simone de Beauvoir, her life in misery, and her avant-gardism feminist novels make her a fascinating figure of the literary circle of the 50’s in France, and a great character for a biopic.
« You can’t be friends with Violette Leduc ». This might be the hardest truth about Violette Leduc. Her life was a series of failures, from which she actually seemed to almost feed from, thus, oddly moving forward. The author had a classic case of simply not allowing herself be happy.
Rather than telling her story chronologically from life to death, Martin Provost chose to focus on the turning points in a life of distress. One of these particularly caught his attention and is the core of the film: It is the encounter of Violette Leduc with Simone de Beauvoir, who took Violette under her wing and helped her published her most provoking novels.
But Violette, who saw herself as ugly and unpleasant (as told many times by her mother), can’t handle having a caring friend, and starts developing a fascination and a sexual attraction to a not responsive Simone de Beauvoir, only creating trouble in what was her only sane relationship.
Violette Leduc’s complex persona is played with brilliance by Emmanuel Devos, and beautifully crafted by Martin Provost, who shows here a deep understanding of the literary process.