The Woman Next Door (La femme d'à côté) (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Woman Next Door (La femme d'à côté)1981

The Woman Next Door (La femme d'à côté) (1981)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Woman Next Door (La femme d'à côté) Photos

Movie Info

François Truffaut's The Woman Next Door continues his fascination with obsessive love. It was also his first collaboration with Fanny Ardant, who would become his favored leading lady for the last phase of his career and offscreen love for the last years of his life. Bernard Coudray (Gerard Deparidieu) is a happily married man living in the village of Grenoble; his life is knocked askew when Philippe and Mathilde Bauchard move in next door, and Mathilde (Ardant) proves to be Bernard's long-ago lover. Truffaut and his screenwriters deftly allow the couple to slide into an affair, slowly revealing that their previous relationship ended without a firm resolution. Mathilde, married more recently than Bernard, to a devoted man some years older than her, senses the futility of revisiting the past, but her attempts to break off the relationship inflame Bernard. When Bernard begins to regret his own reckless behavior, Mathilde's understandable confusion leads to a nervous breakdown. Poorly received by critics who had written off Truffaut as irrelevant, The Woman Next Door is very much the work of the man who made Jules and Jim, Mississippi Mermaid, and Two English Girls.


Gérard Depardieu
as Bernard Coudray
Fanny Ardant
as Mathilde Bauchard
Henri Garcin
as Philippe Bauchard
Michele Baumgartner
as Arlette Coudray
Roland Thénot
as Estate agent
Roger Van Hool
as Roland Duguet
Olivier Becquaert
as Thomas Coudray
View All

Critic Reviews for The Woman Next Door (La femme d'à côté)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3)

A profoundly Hitchcockian film, in that its real subjects are guilt, passion and terrible consequences of a sin that starts out small.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The work of one of the most continuously surprising and accomplished directors of his day.

August 30, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

In the end, the film is not about an attraction between two people, but about the love of the spectator for the image -- the perverse transactions between the audience and the screen.

January 1, 2000

Depardieu brings to his part a lumpish, hulking charm; picture a viciously unhappy and musclebound five-year-old -- a sort of middle-class James Dean.

May 26, 2020 | Full Review…

François Truffaut's tragedy inherits elements of the tackiness of romance novels. [Full Review in Spanish]

August 22, 2019 | Full Review…

The Woman Next Door (1981) unites the sublime Gérard Depardieu with big-screen newcomer Fanny Ardant in a combustible drama about the consequences of passion.

August 8, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Woman Next Door (La femme d'à côté)

"The Woman Next Door" is a simple tale of romantic obsession. Simple enough that director Francois Truffaut apparently had trouble fleshing it into a full-length feature. So, he adds a trivial subplot about book publishing, an inordinate amount of tennis and a strangely emphasized secondary character who doesn't justify her prominence. Bernard (Gerard Depardieu, who else?) lives with his wife and child in a cozy country home. A couple moves into the house next door and, lo and behold, the beautiful Mathilde (Fanny Ardant, who later had a daughter with Truffaut) turns out to be Bernard's ex-lover from several years ago. They had an intense relationship that drove them both to the brink of madness. Bernard and Mathilde delay telling their partners about this awkward coincidence, but can't help immediately resuming their affair. This won't end well, will it? The film is expertly directed with a classy Georges Delerue score, but there's a point where the emotional heat takes a radical jump that seems too sudden and not entirely motivated. Depardieu and Ardant don't have much chemistry, and a few flashbacks might have helped their story's impact. And Veronique Silver is fine as an older, maternal friend whose crippled leg foreshadows the danger of all-consuming desire, but she never becomes vital to the plot and draws far too much screen time. Meanwhile, the spouses of Bernard and Mathilde are underwritten and barely make an impression. Odd. With a better focused script, this could have been a great film.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


Depardieu wears this one really great sweater in this movie.

Tom S.
Tom S.

Super Reviewer


A lesser known Truffaut. Certainly not one of his best but it's entertaining enough. Also it's one of Truffaut's films where his love for Hitchcock is most evident. Good ending as well, even if it was somewhat foreshadowed in the beginning.

Emily B.
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

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