“Your real problems free me from my imaginary anxieties…”
A happily married Parisian lawyer (Bernard Verley) sparks a friendship with his friend’s former lover, Chloe (Zouzou), and soon finds himself questioning his commitment to marital fidelity.
Between 1962 and 1972, French director Eric Rohmer made a series of films — known as Six Moral Tales — about temptation and self-deception in human relationships. Chloe in the Afternoon is the final entry in the series, and serves as an effective, albeit discomfiting, conclusion to the collective narrative. While the two central protagonists in Chloe are authentically limned (chances are you’ve known people just like them), they’re also highly unsympathetic: Frederic (Verley) is self-absorbed and chauvinistic, ogling every pretty woman on the street, and unable to fully appreciate his beautiful, intelligent wife (Francoise Verley) back at home; and Chloe (who got on my nerves immediately — she’s every married woman’s nightmare) is devious and cunning, playing carefully off of Frederic’s weaknesses like a female Lothario. Yet Rohmer’s skill at showing how easily even a “happily married” man can be drawn down a dangerous path towards infidelity is impressive, making this and others in his “Moral Tales” series must-see viewing for film fanatics.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A scathingly honest depiction of moral uncertainty in the face of temptation
- The touching final scene
Yes, simply as the final film in Rohmer’s Moral Tales sextet. Listed as a film with historical importance and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.