The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★½

The Double Life of Véronique is a film that's so hard to discuss because it is a film so centered on mood. What is there to discuss when you don't even know what happens, or rather what happens is secondary to what it evokes? Imagine you see someone who looks exactly like you but there is no connection whatsoever – or is there? Nothing ever explicitly confirms that, yet how can you not think that just from seeing your likeness on another individual?

I don't know. It's certainly odd and certainly intriguing. Is this beautiful, exciting, or scary? Perhaps another film might tell you directly, but here we're given nothing besides what our character sees and feels herself: which is often emptiness. She keeps this moment in mind and goes on with life as normal, but now with the knowledge that there could be something larger, something deeper that wasn't there before – or perhaps always was, imperceptibly influencing her life in ways that can now be explained. Or not?

"Not long ago, I had a strange sensation. I felt that I was alone. All of a sudden. Yet nothing had changed."

Right after finishing this film I had no idea what to say, I had no feelings and no thoughts. At first I just assumed that this didn't move me much, that it was a film with something to say and I just happened to not be affected by that message. After ruminating on it for a few weeks I now realize that's exactly what Véronique is going for, a film with no explanation for its events but intending for you to want an explanation, a film about life's mundanes and how we often seek to give meaning to them. Which is all to say Kieślowski successfully transplanted Veronique's experience onto my own, made Veronique my double, and he did it so well I didn't even realize.


[Film Club #32 / maddy ✨'s pick / my ranking]

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