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Film / L'Amant Double

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L'Amant double (released in the US under the title of Double Lover) is a 2017 French-Belgian erotic thriller film directed by François Ozon, starring Marine Vacth, Jérémie Renier, and Jacqueline Bisset.

Chloé (Vacth) is a depressive 25-year-old woman and she feels a pain in the belly. She consults a psychiatrist, Paul Meyer (Renier), and progressively feels better. She also falls in love with Paul, who reciprocates her feelings. Soon, they move in together, but Chloé suspects that Paul has a secret. She discovers that he has a twin brother, but never told her about him.

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L'Amant double provides examples of:

  • Acting Out a Daydream: After drinking too much at a party, Chloé hallucinates and believes that Louis is coming toward her. She starts running away from him. Paul follows her in his car.
  • All Just a Dream: The end reveals that Louis Delord, Sandra Schenker and her mother do not exist: they are just figments of Chloé's imagination, so all the scenes where she met them were part of her hallucination.
  • Always Identical Twins: Paul's twin brother, Louis, is an identical twin. Subverted: the end reveals that he only exists in Chloé's mind.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Louis continually attacks Chloé verbally and physically. Yet, she is attracted to him and keeps on visiting him.
  • Bed Trick: When he was a teenager, Louis pretended to be Paul to have sex with Sandra, Paul's girlfriend.
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  • Body Horror: There is the Chest Burster scene. The dead fetus found in Chloé's belly is not nice either.
  • Bungled Suicide: After being raped by Louis and dumped by Paul, Sandra shot herself with a gun, but survived with serious after-effects.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: To have sex with Sandra, Louis intoxicated her and pretended to be Paul.
  • But You Were There, and You, and You: In Chloé's hallucinations, her boyfriend Paul plays the role of Louis, an imaginary evil twin, and her mother plays the role of Sandra's mother.
  • Catapult Nightmare: After dreaming of practicing pegging with Paul, Chloé wakes up suddenly and draws herself up in her bed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When she is searching Paul's belongings, Chloé finds a gun. In the end, she takes it with her to go to Louis's flat. Finally she uses it to shoot down Paul or Louis.
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  • Chest Burster: In the end, a creature bursts out of the belly of Chloé, who thought she was pregnant. Then it's revealed that this scene is part of her hallucination.
  • Contrived Coincidence: As she is on a bus, Chloé spots by chance the twin brother of her boyfriend on the street. Subverted: the end reveals that the twin brother only exists in Chloé's mind, so this scene is imagined and not real.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Chloé discovers that Paul has a twin brother, Louis. Then she discovers that, when they were teenagers, Louis posed as Paul to have sex with Louis's girlfriend. Louis then dumped his girlfriend, who was so desperate that she shot herself in the head, but survived with serious after-effects. Subverted: the end reveals that this story is just a fantasy of Chloé.
  • Daydream Surprise:
    • There is a scene where Chloé practices pegging with Paul. Then she wakes up suddenly in her bed. It was just a dream.
    • Chloé falls asleep in the flat of her neighbour. The next day, Louis shows up. He explains to her what happened with Louis and Sandra when they were teenagers. Then Chloé wakes up: it was just a dream.
  • Death Glare: When Chloé visits her, Sandra Schenker suddenly gives Chloé a really frightening look. Chloé is scared and goes out of the room.
  • Evil Twin: Louis Delord is more violent and manipulative than his twin Paul, who is a Nice Guy. Subverted because Louis Delord does not exist: he is just a figment of Chloé's imagination.
  • The Film of the Book: The film is adapted from Lives of the Twins by Joyce Carol Oates.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Paul is a psychiatrist. Chloé consults him. He treats her and they fall in love with each other.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When she consults Paul, Chloé tells that, when she was younger, she imagined she had a twin sister. When she meets Louis, she claims that her sister advised her to consult him. When she imagines that she makes love with Paul and Louis at the same time, her body replicates. Louis also tells her that his cat is a cannibal twin. This foreshadows that Chloé had a parasitic twin sister.
    • Chloé falls asleep in the museum just before seeing Louis for the first time. She tells Louis that he does not exist for Paul. She meets Louis in two fantasy sequences (she imagines that she has sex with Paul and Louis at the same time and she sees Louis by the roadside after the party). She also has two Daydream Surprise sequences (she pratices pegging with Paul and Paul tells her what happened with Sandra and Louis). All this foreshadows that a large part of the film only exists in Chloé's mind (see All Just a Dream).
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: Chloé is attracted to Paul, a Nice Guy who is kind to her, and to Louis, a violent man who assaults her.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: When Chloé thinks she is pregnant, Louis tells that she cannot be sure who the father is because she slept with Louis and Paul. Later, when Paul realized Chloé lied to him about her mental health treatment, he immediately asks her if he is the father of the baby.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Chloé tells Paul that she cannot have sex with him because she is mentruating. Whether this is true or not is ambiguous.
  • Nosy Neighbor: Rose, Chloé and Paul's neighbour, shows up on their doorstep with a fresh-baked cake. She enters their flat without hesitation and then asks if she can come in.
  • Parental Abandonment: Chloé does not know her father (her mother told she got pregnant after a one-night-stand). She was raised by her grandparents, since her mother did not have time.
  • Parking Garage: After visiting Sandra Schenker, Chloé parks her car in the garage of her block. When she gets out of her car, a car that followed her tries to run over her.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Chloé was raised by her grandparents, since her mother did not have time.
  • Shoutout: Sandra Schenker, Paul's ex-girlfriend, did some acting before shooting herself in the head. Her favourite roles were Antigone and Ophelia.
  • The Shrink:
    • Paul Meyer is a psychiatrist. He is well-meaning, but he falls in love with Chloé, one of his patients, and starts a relationship with her. He cannot solve her problems either.
    • Louis Delord is a psychoanalyst. He attacks Chloé verbally and physically when she consults him.
  • Sibling Triangle:
    • Chloé is attracted to Paul and his twin brother Louis.
    • Sandra Schenker was Paul's girlfriend, but Louis, Paul's twin brother, coveted her, so he pretended to be Paul to have sex with her.
  • Split Screen:
    • When Chloé consults Paul, there is a split screen which shows Chloé's face from different angles.
    • There is another split screen when Chloé is having a phone call with Louis at the museum.
    • There is also a split screen when Chloé is having a shower and Paul calls her up because he realized she lied to him about her mental health treatment.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Chloé imagines that she has sex with Paul and his twin brother Louis at the same time.
  • Unknown Relative: Chloé spots a guy that looks like her boyfriend Paul. She makes an appointment with him and he tells her that he is Paul's twin brother. Chloé is surprised that Paul never told her about his twin brother. Subverted: the end reveals that this twin brother only exists in Chloé's mind.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: After drinking too much at a party, Chloé must get out of Paul's car. Her vomitting is showed explicitly.

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