Movie Review: The New Girlfriend is either a thorny thriller or a story of cross-dressing empowerment

From the very beginning of his career, French filmmaker François Ozon (Under The Sand, 8 Women, Swimming Pool) has recognized both gender and sexual preference as more fluid than defined. “A Summer Dress,” the 1996 short that first got him noticed internationally (it was released in the U.S as a package with his hour-long feature See The Sea), tells the story of a gay man who’s persuaded to have sex with a woman for the first time, then feels unexpectedly liberated when he puts her clothes on afterwards. Ozon’s latest feature, The New Girlfriend, is adapted from a short story written by Ruth Rendell back in 1985, yet it brings him full circle, in a way, just as the culture has finally started to catch up with him. As recently as a year ago, when the film premiered on the festival circuit, it would have been hard …

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