Directed by Anne Fontaine, starring Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Beart, Gerard Depardieu, Vladimir Yordanoff, Judith Magre and Rudolphe Pauly.
Nathalie is a story of a middle-aged wife Catherine (Ardant) who, fearing that her husband (Depardieu) has been routinely cheating on her, embarks on a strange mission to find out what he is really like.
Catherine hires a Parisian prostitute Marlene (Beart) to seduce her husband and to start having an affair with him. In return for payment Marlene - who takes the name Nathalie for the mission - must divulge all the dirty details of their encounters.
As the mission progresses the two women grow closer with Catherine rediscovering her husband's sexuality along with her own. Admittedly, the idea of a woman hiring a beautiful young prostitute to lure her husband into bed on a repeated basis is a little warped, yet if any country can make such a situation seem almost commonplace, it's France.
Though it is a rewarding movie, there is the sense that director Anne Fontaine chose the wrong character to focus on. She could have done with delving further into the character of Marlene because the classy hooker is far more interesting than the gynaecologist who has seen better days. We do get glimpses of Marlene's life outside the lurid underworld she inhabits and she is portrayed as an intelligent woman who chooses, rather than is forced, to enter the ancient profession.
Gerard Depardieu is superb as the distant husband but both he and Emmanuelle Beart are neglected somewhat as Catherine's plight takes centre-stage. 'Nathalie' is worth watching. However, with such a talented cast, one would expect more.