Chaos (2001)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Feminist Film, Urban Drama, Satire  |   Release Date - Jan 29, 2003 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Todd Kristel

For the first two-thirds of this movie, writer-director Coline Serreau gives us an entertaining social critique that maintains a comic tone while making valid points about the psychological and physical abuse of women. The film has a serious message, but Serreau leavens it with enough humor and wry insights into her characters to keep her story from getting too heavy handed. Also, she balances the satire with moments that have emotional resonance; one example is the uncomfortable silence as a mother tries to form an emotional connection with her disinterested son in a cafeteria. Unfortunately, the film loses its comic tone when it takes a lengthy narrative digression into NoƩmie's (Rachida Brakni)'s background story. It feels almost as if a different movie was inserted into this one, and the story becomes a ham-fisted and somewhat far-fetched tale of a woman getting back at her one-dimensional, dehumanized male oppressors. The performances are still good and Serreau does manage to generate sympathy for the female characters, but her message might have been more compelling if it had been more subtle.