Plot: What’s it about?
After leaving her husband at the altar, a beautiful young woman named France (Sandrine Kiberlain) sets off on the journey of a lifetime. This is no normal vacation however, as she plans to travel across many locations, in search of a missing piece of herself. She is not sure what the missing element is, but she thinks she can find out on a voyage of self discovery and as such, she sets off to do just that. After some time passes, her jilted ex decides to take action and hires a private detective to track her down, find out her recent doings, and uncover the truth behind her departure from their union. The path of France’s trek is not too hard to follow and as the detective does so, he discovers an unexpected pattern of sorts. A string of men have claimed to have spent time with France, slept with her, and then paid her for her services and by services, they meant companionship and sex, of course. The detective has never met France, but he finds himself drawn to her as he follows her trail of ex-lovers. Will France ever discover what she is looking for, or is she doomed to continue her current actions forever?
If a movie focuses on a woman’s exploration of her sexual powers, it is a rare picture, but even rarer are those films done in good taste, but with ample erotic presence. One of those films is For Sale (known outside of America as A vendre), which follows a beautiful young woman as she searches for something she is missing, even though she is unsure of just what that missing element could be. I can’t say that I always understood the motivations of our lead, but perhaps that is part of the film’s recipe for success, to remain mysterious on some points. In the same vein, you might not always agree with her choices, but that again makes us look at her situation in a fresh light, which is always good, I think. So don’t come to For Sale looking for answers or a tidy conclusion, as you’ll probably wind with more questions than when the picture started, but it all works well and seems to fit the tone of the movie. For Sale has a solid storyline, some great visuals, and a dynamic lead performance from Sandrine Kiberlain, who lends the role the charm it needs to maintain a vital bond with the audience. I give this film a most solid recommendation, as it sticks with you after the credits and is a powerful motion picture, well worth a look.
The main reason For Sale works so well is the presence of Sandrine Kiberlain, who as I mentioned above, gives a terrific turn here. This is a tough role indeed, as her character makes some questionable and sometimes even bad decisions, but still has to remain available to the audience, never losing their interest. Kiberlain is able to do just that and even if we lose her for a few scenes, her sheer charm and charisma are enough to win us back, even if she takes a downward turn and leaves us all scratching our heads. In addition, Kiberlain is also very beautiful and that enhances her chances of remaining in the audience’s somewhat good graces, perhaps to a greater extent than her vulnerable, yet powerful performance. Other films with Kiberlain include Love Me, Seventh Heaven, The Lover, and The Indecisive Guy. The cast also includes Jean-Francois Stevenin (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Passion), Chiara Mastroianni (Pret-A-Porter, Diary of a Seducer), and Aurore Clement (Apocalypse Now, The Captive).
Video: How does it look?
For Sale is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a bright, clean visual effort that really allows the visuals to shine, which is good news here, since the film has a great visual sense. I saw no serious flaws with the print used and minimal minor ones, so I assume the source materials were in top notch condition. The film was made in 1998 and should look very clean, but sometimes lower profile films end up aged beyond their years, so I am glad For Sale looks this good. The colors look bold and vivid here, while black levels seem rich and well defined, no real complaints to make, a terrific treatment from Image here.
Audio: How does it sound?
The original French soundtrack is preserved via a Dolby Digital stereo option, which more than handles the needs of the material. This track has little in terms of bells & whistles, but the film has minimal need for such moments, as the audio is more subtle and reserved, as opposed to powerful and bold. The music comes through well and has some nice moments of separation, while sound effects are basic here, but solid enough. No problems in the least with dialogue either, as vocals are rich and clean from start to finish. This disc also includes optional English subtitles, should you need those at some point.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.