SXSW 2019 Review: ALICE

By Jan Hamilton

Synopsis Source: SXSW Participants

After discovering that her husband’s addiction to escorts has left their family penniless, Alice finds herself drawn into the world of high-end prostitution as a means of caring for herself and her child.

Alice (Emilie Piponnier), her husband Francois ( Martin Swabey), and her son Jules are the perfect middle class European family. Married for years, everything seems fine to Alice, they both work, Francois is very affectionate, and they have a nice social life. The first clue of a problem occurs at a party, a friend reminds
Francois that he’s been working on a book for 10 years, with no progress.

On a trip to a pharmacy, Alice’s credit card is rejected, multiple calls to Francois go unanswered. Because he handles all financial affairs, she is frantic. The next day, still unable to reach Francois, she goes to the bank where she learns that the
mortgage for their apartment hasn’t been paid for a year. He has been hiding all
calls and late notices. She had invested her large inheritance, all her money, when
they purchased it. She searches her husband’s papers and finds an indication that he has been going to a high-end escort service and has spent thousands there, all their money.

She goes there, trying to get information on his whereabouts by pretending to apply for a job. She meetsĀ  Lisa (Chloe Boreham), an escort there, who is helpful. After exhausting all other avenues of help, she goes to work there, Lisa is invaluable in helping her manage her new,
temporary life.

This was my favorite film of the SXSW festival, Alice’s spirit and determination are inspiring, the scenes of her and her clients are not horrible because she seems to have some element of control, her first time with a client is clumsy and hilarious.
Alice has a chance near the end of the film to go back to her life and husband, she is able to make the best choice for her and her son.

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