The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★½

"I was wondering if you'd notice me."

A trippy and internally haunting drama, Krzysztof Kieślowski's 'The Double Life of Véronique' is beautiful, quiet, and puzzling. One day, a woman named Weronika (Irene Jacob) catches a glimpse of Véronique (also played by Jacob), a woman who looks inexplicably just like her, before the former's sudden death. Kieślowski then transfers over to Véronique on the very same day, who now finds herself mystified over a sudden loss she can't explain.

The film reaches the absolute edge of turning into a mystery, a soft thriller with clues, or even a sci-fi experience yet it never crosses that line, brilliantly so. Some philosophical options are offered in the back half of the film, particularly during the final act when a particular photograph is discovered, but there are no last second twists or grandiose lab experiments to be found here; Kieślowski instead masterfully blends genres and dabbles in the prospect of having a double out there, not even a twin, one you're bafflingly connected to. It's a real treat.

It's a beautiful if not drab looking film. The cinematography and color changes were dynamic and noticeably bright or muted, whether they're natural or drenched in yellow or green, and I loved the different styles on display; I'd imagine there are some thematic choices baked into these decisions, or perhaps not, but I'm not smart enough to attribute those, nor am I quick enough to catch that sort of thing on a first viewing. The beautiful Jacob plays both roles well and Kieślowski offers such a mesmerizing and enchanting experience here, one that I'm itching to revisit to see all the fine details and softer moments that I didn't pick up on.

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