Monsieur Hire

Michel Blanc, Sandrine Bonnaire, Luc Thuillier

Directed by Patrice Leconte
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
April 20, 1990

Everything about this alluringly tainted French mystery is geared to make us doubt our first impressions. An agitated man (André Wilms) photographs a young girl's corpse. His emotional state suggests a personal involvement, but the man is a police inspector investigating the girl's murder. Later he interrogates a local tailor, Monsieur Hire (Michel Blanc). Hire is a misanthropic hermit whose dark clothing and parchment pallor (he's a ringer for the child molester played by Peter Lorre in M) arouse our suspicions. Hire also enjoys spying on Alice (Sandrine Bonnaire), the beauty who lives in the apartment across from his.

Hire is a peeping Tom, but is he a killer who deserves to have his neighbors rise up against him? Alice and her boyfriend Emile (Luc Thuillier), whose love-making Hire watches from the shadows of his room while listening to Brahms, look innocent. But why does Alice stage a meeting with Hire and take steps to seduce him?

In adapting Georges Simenon's 1933 novel Les Fiançailles de Monsieur Hire, director and coscreenwriter Patrice Leconte has shifted the emphasis from political to human drama. Simenon's book was a stinging indictment of mob justice, as was Panique, Julien Duvivier's 1946 film version. But Leconte is more concerned with the issue of personal betrayal. He has made an unapologetically romantic film out of a grisly story. Leconte, a comedy director who has done five films with Blanc, is perhaps overzealous in draining the film of humor. His sober approach slows down the pace, but the gain in emotional impact is ample compensation.

Blanc is mesmerizing as he reveals the hurt beneath Hire's icy exterior. And Bonnaire, the hardened rebel of Vagabond, brings out the warmth and confusion in Alice. In one breathtaking scene, shot on the roof of a church, these two unlikely lovers momentarily forget their hidden agendas to share a kiss in the open air. The longing and loss in that kiss is the essence of the film – a spellbinder that digs into the darker recesses of the heart.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Whoomp! (There It Is)”

    Tag Team | 1993

    Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

    More Song Stories entries »