The Bridesmaid (film)

The Bridesmaid

DVD cover
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Produced by Françoise Galfré
Patrick Godeau
Screenplay by Claude Chabrol
Pierre Leccia
Based on The Bridesmaid by
Ruth Rendell
Starring Benoît Magimel
Laura Smet
Music by Matthieu Chabrol
Cinematography Eduardo Serra
Edited by Monique Fardoulis
Canal Diffusion
France 2 Cinéma
Integral Film
Distributed by First Run Features
Release dates
7 September 2004 (Venice Film Festival)
28 July 2006 (USA)
Running time
111 minutes
Country France
Budget $6 million
Box office $3.3 million[1]

The Bridesmaid is a 2004 film co-written and directed by Claude Chabrol. Its title in French is La Demoiselle d'honneur. The film is based on the novel The Bridesmaid by Ruth Rendell.


Philippe (Magimel) lives on the outskirts of Nantes with his mother Christine (Clément) who is a hairdresser and with his two younger sisters. One day, a local girl mysteriously disappears. Soon after, Philippe's mother introduces her children to Gerard (Le Coq) -- a wealthy local businessman who appears interested in pursuing her. She gives him a sculpture of the Roman goddess Flora that Philippe had given her which was in the family garden.

Not too long after receiving the gift, Gerard appears to vanish without a trace. Philippe makes it his mission to recover the sculpture. He finally tracks it down and places it in his closet without telling anyone. Later, at his sister's wedding, Philippe meets attractive bridesmaid Senta (Smet) and the two quickly fall for each other passionately. She claims to be a model and aspiring actress who lives in a huge villa which she says she inherited from her father. The sexy Senta may be beautiful and irresistible, yet she also seems to have several macabre ideas about life, love, and death. As their affair intensifies, she asks him to kill a stranger to prove his love. He at first thinks she is joking but then realizes she is actually serious about carrying out the plan.

Principal cast

Actor Role
Benoît Magimel Philippe Tardieu
Laura Smet Stéphanie "Senta" Bellange
Aurore Clément Christine
Bernard Le Coq Gérard Courtois
Suzanne Flon Madame Crespin
Solène Bouton Sophie Tardieu
Anna Mihalcea Patricia Tardieu
Thomas Chabrol Lieutenant José Laval

Critical reception

The film was well received by critics. Website assigned a 74 out of 100 based on 20 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[2]

Desson Thomas of The Washington Post:

Chabrol arranges his story with a subtle, almost clinical accumulation. And it takes close attention to the movie's seemingly innocuous details to understand his deeper purposes. But the filmmaker has never been as interested in the machinations of plot as much as aberrant human nature... its rewards come from sustained concentration rather than from relaxed observation.[3]

Ty Burr of The Boston Globe:

The film reveals its secrets slowly, and Chabrol tightens the screws not according to the rules of Hollywood suspense but with a cool, level gaze. Of the great filmmakers of the French New Wave, he may have changed the least over the years, and there's a continuity of tone and morbid inquiry that runs from Le Boucher (1970) through La Ceremonie (1995, and also based on Rendell) to The Bridesmaid. Comparisons to Hitchcock have been made throughout his career, but they serve to define differences more than similarities. Hitch made movie suspense showy and fun. Chabrol grounds it in realism and ponders the hazy line where eccentricity turns homicidal.[4]


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