In The House; Running time: 125 mins; Certificate 15 ***

11:16am Thursday 28th March 2013

By Steve Pratt

A TOUCH of French class among all the action and animated fodder released for the Easter holidays – an intelligent and provocative comedy from director Francois Ozon, who made 8 Women and The Swimming Pool.

Fabrice Luchini is perfectly cast as a teacher who’s given up on his pupils until new boy Claude (Ernst Umhauer) arrives and starts writing about weekends spent at the home of wealthy classmate Rapha.

He’s particularly taken with observations about Rapha’s unhappy mother (Emmanuelle Seigner).

This impacts on the teacher’s home life where his art dealer wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) becomes just as fascinated when her husband starts reading his student’s literary efforts to her.

The line between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred as the stories get racier and the teacher’s bedtime reading involves both families.

Fine performances, including Umhauer in the fiendishly difficult role of the young interloper in the lives of two families, lend this look at voyeurism and its place in society authenticity amid the sly comedy.

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