Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Criterion Collection Spine #359
(Foreign language film)
Are we sure Kieslowski did not intend to make The Colors Quadrilogy, with this being 'Green: A Doppelgänger's story'?
"Not long ago, I had a strange sensation. I felt that I was alone. All of a sudden. Yet nothing had changed."
The Double Life of Véronique is a subtle and contemplative work that exhibits the mysterious feelings, and intuitions that connect us. In this story Kieslowski explores this idea through the connection between a woman in Poland, and one in France named (Weronika or Véronique) who look identical. Irène Jacob plays the Véroniques, and would later star in Kieslowski's final film 'Three Colors: Red', which is also a slow film about human connection. But personally, I enjoyed the concept and aesthetic of Véronique more than Red ... or maybe after having seen 'Dekalog' I am just coming to appreciate his films that have a softer touch more.
Like I mentioned off the top this movie is dominated by the color green, which for me had a murky look that went with how several elements of this story were unclear. I also think it is a color that suggests life which plays into the whole aspect of nature that came into play when we witness Véronique having her final feeling while putting her hand on a tree.
The film was shot by my favorite Cinematographer that worked with Kieslowski, Slawomir Idziak who shot the amazing Dekalog: Episodes 1 & 5, and 'Three Colors: Blue'. While Véronique is a great looking film with its use of green and intimate close-ups, it did not have as much of the style that I loved so much from their other collaborations.
With Véronique being a film that focuses so much on feelings and mystery, one might feel disappointed if they come in expecting a clear cut plot. But I did not completely feel that way since I did find the Doppelgänger aspects so interesting, and it was a delight to see Jacob's smile light up the screen. But I would not recommend this as a first Kieslowski film.
(Quick Hits) Spoilers.....
- I really enjoyed the musical aspects that connected these two women, with one being a performer and the other being a music teacher
- One of the most frustrating parts is that Véronique of Poland inexplicably dies during a performance, which is what forces the rest of the story to focus on Véronique of France and her being able to feel that her other half is now gone
- The quick flasher incident definitely made me do a double-take! I thought it was interesting how Roger Ebert's Great Movies review noted how he thought this moment showed how mundane the Véronique of Poland's life had become, to where being the victim of a flasher would not phase her. But I would say it seemed more like she would just get lost in her own sense of wonder
- Some of the other clues of the story that I enjoyed included the picture that Véronique of France takes of her double while on vacation, the small clear ball that Véronique of Poland looks through, and the marionettes
Thanks for reading.
Happy movie watching ... Skål!