The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★★½


I did something after watching The Double Life of Veronique which I’ve never done before. I immediately watched it again…literally the minute it ended. I sat there with a puzzled look on my face for a good minute, then rewinded it all the way back to the beginning and started it all over again right away. I did this not because I loved it so much I had to see it again, but because I was befuddled. What I had just seen was unmistakably beautiful and rich in themes, but I was left somewhat unsure if I actually liked it or not. Well, after watching it again I can confidently say this is a near masterpiece that now has my full respect and appreciation. It took a double take on my part to realize how special it is.

The film creates this mesmerizing mixture of mystery, wonder, dread, love, death, and interconnectedness…it all combines into a haunting and dream like experience. It’s a film that probably works best if you don’t dwell on specific scenes and their specific meanings, but rather let it all wash over you like a warm tide. Not to say of course that it is isn’t fun to speculate on certain puzzling aspects of the film. I think the first time I watched it though, I got too critical about how it all fit together and it hurt my experience. Switching my ‘mode’ from anal retentive to relaxed and contemplative paid huge dividends.

Watching this film is like having a recurring dream…when you’re dreaming it, everything seems oddly familiar though you may not be able to put your thumb on why. Then you wake up and think “Ah…it was that place again…wonder why I keep dreaming about that?”. This movie has a similar wave of familiarity to it…almost like it speaks to the underlying sense of coincidence and mystery of life that we all can related to in some way or another. Really just brilliant that it can capture this nearly indescribable feeling, so perfectly.

I’ve shamefully yet to see any of the three colors trilogy; but if they are anywhere near as wonderful as this was (which from what I hear they are), I cannot wait.

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