Two Women on France 2: what is the historical drama worth with Odile Vuillemin and Agathe Bonitzer?

Freely inspired by a miscarriage of justice that hit the headlines in 1960s France, the TV movie tells the fight of two radically opposed women, at a time when the death penalty was still in force and abortion was illegal.

Sarah ALCALAY/FTV/Alaudafilms2/MakingProd

What is it about ?

In 1965, Colette Chevreau, who claimed freedom of morals, worked for a network of clandestine abortions. She is wrongly accused of the murder of a banker by misogynistic police officers. The case is entrusted to Anne-Marie, a shy and reserved young investigating judge. Will she be able to resist the machismo of the judicial hierarchy of the time?

Two women, February 28 at 9:10 p.m. on France 2

Who is it with?

In this historical television film inspired by real events and awarded the prize for best unitary fiction at the Luchon Festival, Odile Vuillemin (Il est Elle) plays Colette, a woman of free morals who stands out in her small village and stirs up rumours. In the role of Anne-Marie, the young examining magistrate, we find Agathe Bonitzer (Osmosis), who must fight to establish herself as a young woman in the legal arena. Aurélien Recoing (Black Box), Nicolas Beaucaire (Ainsi Soient-ils), Pierre Rochefort (De Gaulle, the brilliance and the secret) and Nicolas Wanczycki (The Art of Crime) complete the cast.

Well worth a look ?

Freely inspired by a news item, that of the Monique Case affair, also called the Ernest Rodrigues affair or the “Bois Bleu affair”, Two women retraces the fight of a young investigating judge who fought to clear a woman wrongly accused of murder, and overwhelmed by gossip around her private life.

Criticized by the neighborhood for her dissolute morals, Colette is wrongly denounced by an ex-police lover who wants to take revenge on her and protect her back. But Colette cannot provide a tangible alibi, because at the time of the crime, she was participating in a clandestine abortion. Telling the truth would endanger a whole network of doctors and patients, because abortion was still a crime punishable by heavy penalties in 1960s France.

Sarah ALCALAY/FTV/Alaudafilms2/MakingProd
Odile Vuillemin as Colette Chevreau

Written by Stéphane Brisset (Sam) and Chantal de Rudder (The Good Lady of Nancy) and directed by Isabelle Doval (Abdel and the Countess), the France 2 TV movie strives to retrace the torments experienced by Colette, while public opinion turns against her and that a misogynistic investigator strives to make her the ideal culprit, to the point of sending her behind bars for more than a month wrongly.

The character of Anne-Marie, procedural and frustrated by her hierarchy, on the other hand brings a breath of vitality to the television film. ButDespite the involvement of the cast and the secondary roles, we end up losing our interest in the face of sequences with hammered intentions and overly strong dialogues that lack naturalness.

And if the veracity of the facts should add to the horror and the feeling of revolt in the face of this story, we tend to be bored as the various adventures experienced by the heroine seem seen and reviewed, served by a lackluster realization and a bit dated.

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