She handles the situation on her own terms, in a way that is completely personal and complex. She is a solitary, lonely character, and she is a very strong person.
In the first scene of the movie, Michèle is violently raped by a masked man.
Yet we live in an age of heightened feminist consciousness, and in that context there’s no denying that “Elle” would seem to have the makings of a supremely controversial hot-button event, since it’s a movie about…well, look, I can’t discuss what it’s about without revealing major plot twists, so be warned.
From here on, this column will not be a spoiler-free zone.
“Elle” appears to be a drama about a great many things: love, isolation, unruly desire, video games, psychotic murder, the urge to watch. All of the above.) At heart, though, the movie is about the following thing: a self-possessed but rather sneaky Parisian businesswoman, played by Huppert, who is raped several times in her home by a masked assailant, and who winds up having a forbidden affair with him.
At first, she has no idea that the attacker and the handsome neighbor she’s attracted to are one and the same man.