FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT YET SEEN WHO YOU THINK I AM, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
Who You Think I Am is another piece of entertainment that follows a person indulging in catfishing and the repercussions of it. We have seen so many films and television shows coming out recently covering this topic… and honestly, it’s starting to become a genre all of its own. Just last week Netflix premiered their limited series Clickbait, which covered many of the same issues that Who You Think I Am is trying to tackle as well. So, the worry is… is that this topic is going to become oversaturated. But, this French film that originally premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2019 and is finally getting its release here in the United States this week… has something going for it, that truly makes it special. Academy Award-winning Actress Juliette Binoche.
WHAT IS WHO YOU THINK I AM ALL ABOUT?
The film follows Claire, a middle-aged divorced teacher who is struggling to find purpose and love in her life. She is dating a much younger man named Ludo, who suddenly wants nothing to do with her because of her age and she heads into a tailspin. To keep an eye on Ludo, she creates a fake Facebook page and steals the identity of a much younger woman. She begins to catfish his photographer roommate Alex, only to fall in love with him despite the fact that he thinks she’s 24-years-old.
HOW IS JULIETTE BINOCHE IN THE LEAD ROLE?
To talk about Who You Think I Am and not speak about Juliette Binoche would be a sin. I have been a die-hard fan of hers since The English Patient and after that, with one of my favorite films of all-time, Chocalat. While most actors give it their all, Binoche surrenders herself to every performance that she is in. And this movie is no exception. This character Claire could have been so unlikeable (and at times she can be), but Binoche’s earnestness is so believable. Her fantasy of a life that is no longer possible because of age, or so she thinks, pervades every scene of this film. She is the definition of an anti-hero, but yet you cannot help, but fall under her spell, just like her victim.
Who You Think I Am is absolutely spellbinding. The cinematography is gorgeous and it contains a couple of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful scenes I’ve seen in film all year. The score matches how haunting this movie is; with subtle piano work in some parts then elevating to epic full orchestral notes in the next. On a technical level, Who You Think I Am is flawless.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ISSUES HERE?
But, this is a rollercoaster ride that doesn’t necessarily know when it should end. At first glance, you think that the movie is one thing and then it constantly keeps reinventing itself. Just like our lead protagonist. Which makes for a very unpredictable ride, but also a frustratingly disorienting one. Many viewers will be turned off by the twists and turns in this film’s narrative. And there were numerous times I thought that Who You Think I Am had met its satisfying conclusion, only to continue for another story arc that took us in another insane direction.
IS THIS JUST ANOTHER “CATFISH” STORY?
Despite that one qualm, I believe that this is a seductive and entrancing film that I could not keep my eyes off of. The further Claire goes down her rabbit hole, so do we… and when the end credits finally rolled… I was devastated. Although this would probably be easy to write off as “just another catfish story”, it is so much more nuanced than that. I had no idea where this film was going and even though it took me to some dark, unwelcome places… it nonetheless, left quite an impact on me.
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