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Film / The Woman Next Door

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The Woman Next Door (French title: La Femme d'à Côté) is a 1981 French romantic drama film directed by François Truffaut. It stars Gérard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant.

Bernard (Depardieu) is happily married to his wife Arlette, with whom he has a son Thomas. This middle class family lives an untroubled life until a couple, consisting of Philippe and Mathilde (Ardant), moves right next door. It so happens that Bernard and Mathilde had a stormy relationship many years before and the two are shocked to see each other again. Bernard tries to avoid Mathilde while she's willing to be friends. But they feel drawn to each other and start meeting in hotels...


  • Destructive Romance: Bernard and Mathilde know they're really toxic for each other, but for whatever reason can't resist pursuing a relationship, despite how badly they've hurt each other in the past. The present relationship turns out to be not much better and the end result is very, very bad for both of them.
  • Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: The story starts with Mathilde moving right next door to Bernard, and the two rekindle their old relationship. It's right there in the title.
  • Murder-Suicide: After being released from the hospital, Mathilde goes to see Bernard again and the two start having sex. Mathilde pulls out a gun in the middle of it and shoots Bernard, then herself, killing them both.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: In the middle of telling her distracted shrink about Madame Jouve's history of unhappy love, Mathilde suddenly says "And that's when I decided to kill my mother!" to see if he was listening.
  • Self-Harm: In their first clandestine hotel meeting, Bernard sees scars in Mathilde's wrists, which she says are because of him. It's one of the first signs that this affair won't end well.