Diane Kurys' semi-autobiographical account of a long-term friendship between two women is a complex evocation of shifting gender roles. In 1952 France, two women meet at their children's school. Lena Isabelle Huppert is a Jewish refugee who married to avoid deportation and Madeleine Miou-Miou is an aristocratic woman with an artistic streak. Both unhappy in their marriages, they quickly develop a close relationship, with the film focusing on the attraction of the initially self-effacing Lena to the restless, charismatic Madeleine. Kurys' insistence on the mediocrity of the two husbands is somewhat disingenuous, since both women made marriages of convenience. Yet given the restrictive mores of the time and place, one sympathizes with the women's dreams of leaving their mates to start a business together. Ultimately, the most moving aspect of the film is the painful effect of the breakup of Lena's marriage on her two daughters, the younger of whom is based on Kurys herself. While the actions of the two women often seem cold and self-serving, it's difficult to envision a viable alternative outcome, a testament to the film's sense of truth. Huppert is impressive as a woman beginning to blossom for the first time in her life, and Miou-Miou is a believably striking catalyst.