Christopher Frank's "Femmes de Personne" (at the Music Hall) couldn't be more French in regarding love with an all-consuming seriousness--and that's the film's problem.
It centers on a Paris divorcee (Marthe Keller), a radiologist with a small son (Karol Zuber), and three of her female colleagues. All of them are as beautiful and as chic as their wardrobes and apartments. Everyone, even the extras, is slim, poised, sophisticated and detached, just the way Parisians are supposed to be. Naturally, behind these lacquered facades, they are often scared and miserable, afraid of time passing; it's a state of mind that's downright obligatory in urbane French films of a certain level.
Keller is as successful in her profession as she is lonely in her personal life. Her friend (Caroline Cellier), another radiologist, has grown so bored with her handsome insurance-broker husband (Patrick Chesnais) that she perversely promotes an affair between him and the hospital's gorgeous young receptionist (Elisabeth Etienne). Meanwhile, Keller and Cellier's pretty blond assistant (Fanny Cottencon) is reeling from her lover's abrupt rejection.
All these problems are convincingly lifelike and truly painful for these women, but Frank does his people a disservice by taking their anguish--and himself--with an awesome solemnity that attains cosmic proportions (just as he did in his very similar 1982 debut film, "Josepha"). Frank is a veteran playwright, novelist and screenwriter, but he denies his characters any perspective. He creates intelligent, self-absorbed characters, almost hermetically sealed from the rest of the world. In doing so, he unintentionally undercuts sympathy for them--so great-looking are they and their environments--and so mundane seem their crises.