Even though I prefer to focus on foreign films depicting lesbians, this movie needs to be recognized for its credit to the suffragettes who stood up in the face of opposition, faced arrest, alienation, separation, abuse, mockery, and all else unimaginable so that woman today can enjoy the rights we do.
Nora ( Marie Leuenberger) is a housewife and mother of two boys in Switzerland in 1971. The story begins by explaining that while the world was changing, their town remained unaware. Nora’s life, along with every other woman in the small town, was to be a mother and a housewife, which included taking care of her husband’s narrow-minded father. Women were often not made aware of their home’s financial stability, so in some cases when their husbands passed away, the women were forced to sell their possessions and/or property.
On a visit to town, a suffragette hands her some information on women’s rights to vote and after first dismissing the idea, decides she’d like to know more about it. Meanwhile, a female elder in her town is raising money against the cause and vehemently opposes women’s rights, stating that it is against the bible and that the men should be the ones making all the decisions. Nora alone speaks up. She wants the right to vote.
One by one, other women join her. On the path to independence, some really fun and funny things take place, and of course some things that aren’t so great happen. I did find the movie to be more light and uplifting rather than difficult to watch.
The movie is not only about women wanting to vote, it is also about becoming independent in thought, becoming involved in one’s community, asking for value of opinion. It’s about having the courage to stand up when others, even your own spouse, opposes you.
These women did the dirty work so that we women today can enjoy the freedom and laws to demand equal pay, voting, working, living independently…
We are not yet there in all the ways we should be, but I think it’s important and also inspiring to remember what some women sacrificed in order to obtain the opportunities we now enjoy.
Even though this movie didn’t take place in the country I live in, I enjoyed watching progression for these women in their town. The story was not overly gut wrenching, but its points were clear.
I found the supporting actors rich in character and well developed. Each of them were important in making the audience aware of different viewpoints and to show the different hardships/difficulties women and their families faced for taking their stand.
I highly recommend watching The Divine Order not only for inspiration, but to remember to appreciate that it wasn’t that long ago that we were laughed at and flat out denied what is now easily taken for granted: the right to vote.
This movie was in Swiss German with English subtitles
Eva, a young married woman (Eloísa Maturén), has gone ahead of her husband to their (I assume beach) vacation spot, when her car breaks down along the way. While she is waiting for repairs, she is referred to a small beautiful Caribbean beach hotel/resort where a woman named Liz (Patricia Velásquez) and her close friends have gathered for Liz’s birthday.
Liz appears to be a bit of a womanizer, and has really cool hobbies, like fishing, diving, and motorcycle riding. When Eva arrives, she finds Liz fishing and throws Liz’s freshly caught fish back into the water, asking Liz if she’d like to die slowly. Eva is invited to join Liz and her friends for dinner, where she learns all the other female guests are lesbians. A secret bet is made by Liz with her friends, that she will have Eva in her bed within three days.
The movie offered beautiful scenery – really beautiful scenery – and a series of twists that kept me needing to find out how it all ended. Even the supporting characters lent to the development and fullness of the story. I did not find the movie dull, but even if I had, I enjoyed the water and beach scenes so much it gave me a sense of peace and tranquility that was worth finishing the movie for.
Which takes me to the next part…the finishing of the movie. I cried. Actually, I cried a few times throughout the movie. It’s hard to judge the performance of an actor sometimes when the movie is not in one’s native tongue. Because we are focusing on reading the dialogue, it’s natural to miss some of the actions or expressions being performed by the actors. But it is easy to judge the quality of the direction, editing, and budget. I felt like this movie delivered on every aspect, be it performance, visually, or emotionally. And while the first part of the movie may have begun by offering little substance, it clearly cultivated throughout, offering phenomenal and believable performances by all.
One thing I must comment on are the age gaps that are portrayed. I happen to be a huge fan of age gaps, so this was something I enjoyed seeing. It wasn’t until I did some research (just now) that I learned Patricia Velásquez is only a couple years younger than I am, which made me really impressed! I don’t want to insinuate her age is old by saying ‘wow she aged well,’ but damn! She did age well. (And no, she’s not old)
I also enjoyed the fact that while there is some nudity, there wasn’t a big love making scene. Not that those are bad – I do love them – but this movie gave us so much heart and emotion, it’s almost as though we didn’t need sex. There is intimacy of course, but you won’t find, and I bet you won’t miss it either, straight up sex.
I totally recommend this movie and would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!
**There are some twists in this story that I don’t wish to divulge, so if you are planning to watch this movie you can stop reading where it indicates below, otherwise feel free to read beyond the spoiler alert warning to find out how it all ends**
I watched this movie on Hulu. It was in Spanish with English subtitles.
Fun Facts: Patricia Velásquez was born in Venezuela but raised in France and Mexico, and is also a super model, philanthropist, and activist. Eloísa Maturén is also a ballet dancer, as well as a contributing journalist to a major Venezuelan newspaper, El Nacional.
SPOILER ALERT – STAY BEHIND THIS LINE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW HOW THIS MOVIE ENDS
On the surface this might seem like a shallow story-line, but as things unfold, one can’t help but be captivated by Liz’s mysteries of her past as well as her current predicament.
Meanwhile Eva also makes some discoveries that allow her the freedom to seek out Liz.
Once we learn that Liz’s cancer has returned, it is easy to find meaning in all of her actions. I truly began to feel for everything Liz did and witnessed her pain as a silent sufferer until finally her friends are made aware. Eva discovered Liz’s medication and was also quiet about her knowledge until she tells Liz that she knows because her son died from the same illness.
So now this fun, beachy, chance-at-romance movie becomes serious and meaningful.
There was a vulnerable moment for Liz when she shows up at a healer’s home, who had been asking her to come for a while, and allows her to perform a ritual in order to heal her. It was powerful to me because Liz was not normally one to believe in such things, but she had clearly reached a point that she was willing to do anything. And she was falling for Eva, so I think she remembered how powerful love was.
When it becomes clear that Liz does not want to go the length of the illness and prefers being given a lethal dose of (I assume) morphine when the time comes, she asks her ex lover and closest friend (also a Dr.) to be the one to administer it to her.
I hoped with all my might that something would give. That the healing ritual worked, or that Liz would opt for the chemo treatments, but when the time came, it was Eva who was the one to give her the dose.
Eva, btw, had lost her son to the same disease Liz had and felt extreme guilt for forcing him to suffer through all the treatments to save his life, just to have him die after the suffering. So she felt complete empathy and respect for Liz’s decision not to have treatment a second time. She did want to have another baby, but discovered that her husband was having an affair, so she slept with him one last time, his seed was planted, and it appears they left each other on amicable terms. She did this before returning to Liz, who had not yet taken a turn for the worse.
Liz passes on, which was done beautifully, and Eva maintains a friendship with the rest of Liz’s friends.
The movie ends with a scene, years later, when all of the friends have gathered together at the beach, and Eva’s daughter (named after Liz) is shown, appearing to have the same interests as the original Liz. This was pretty cool. I have one negative critique about this, and that was the age of little Liz. Because Eva is so young, and her deceased son’s picture made it appear as though she had him when she was 20, it was hard to believe five+ years had passed and Eva still looked 25 years old. I may not have raised my eyebrows if her daughter was two or three. It’s easy to overlook and to simply go with the flow, but it was something that did stand out to me.
Again, I do recommend watching this movie if you enjoy age gap romances, love stories, soothing scenery, Spanish movies, great actors.
Please click like if you enjoyed this review and/or leave a message in the comment section on your thoughts if you have seen it or plan to!
This film is one of my most favorite go-to’s when I’m in the mood for strong minded women with a cause… and Cécile de France falling in love with Izïa Higelin…
The movie begins with young Delphine (Izïa Higelin), who lives on a farm with her parents in France, in the early 1970’s. She is close with her family, and dedicated to her life on the farm, but she secretly has relationships with other girls while avoiding her parent’s pushes toward marriage, and a boy who is interested in her.
When a girl she is seeing ends their relationship for marriage, Delphine heads to Paris, where she awakens to her independence from farm life. One day as she is walking along the sidewalk, a group of young women’s rights activists run past, pinching men on the butts in protest of they way women are treated as objects. One man, not liking having the tables turned, grabs Carole (Cécile de France) by the arm. Delphine rescues her then joins the group of women as they escape onto the city bus.
Delphine becomes part of the women’s group and finds herself attracted to Carole, who is in a loving relationship with her boyfriend.
When the group frees a male friend who was sent to a mental hospital for being gay, Delphine and Carole share a bed in a country home, where the women and escapee stay for the night. Delphine tries to kiss Carole, but after being rejected, asks reluctant Carole to leave her bed.
Back in Paris, Delphine confronts Carole, insisting to show her how she feels…how they both feel.
Funfact: Izïa Higelin also happens to be a rock singer and guitarist.
This movie is currently being shown on Strand Releasing and can also be rented from Amazon.
French with subtitles
SPOILER ALERT – STAY BEHIND THIS LINE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW HOW THIS MOVIE ENDS 🙂
Just as the two fall in love, Delphine must return to the family farm after her father suffers from a stroke, where she is willing to do anything to keep it running. Carole, who turned her whole world upside down to be with Delphine is not ready to lose her so quickly and joins her in the country – an environment she is not accustomed to. Delphine works hard to overcome the hurdles of the farm while not so successfully hiding her relationship with Carole.
The hardest part, for me, was seeing Carole bring moments of laughter and dancing back to Delphine’s mother who had been suffering silently over the illness of her husband, only to be harshly rejected by her later when she discovers the nature of their relationship.
Both Carole and Delphine return to the worlds they came from before meeting, and possibly are destined to live.
Approximately five years later, Carole, now a healthcare worker, receives a letter from Delphine, explaining that she is no longer living on the farm and bought a house in the south of France. She states she wishes she had left with Carole when she returned to Paris…but it is impossible to turn back time.
I like to think, by the look on Carole’s face, that she met with her somewhere and their lives continued on together, but it is easy to assume the director is showing us that life goes on and everyone must move forward/not look back.
My thoughts: I have been a huge fan of Cécile de France for years and truly enjoyed her role here. The movie definitely did well telling the story of Delphine and Carole during 1971 at an age where huge life changes take place not to mention women’s rights movements are exploding . It was definitely a realistic story about love, parents finding out you aren’t straight, telling the man you live with that you’ve fallen for a woman, and that life doesn’t always go the way we hoped. Not to mention, the ever so present struggle for women to be taken seriously when it comes to business decisions. I am not a huge fan of endings of love stories that force us to answer the big “did they get back together?” ourselves, but nonetheless I enjoyed every bit of La Belle Saison and hope you will too!