The Women on the 6th Floor at Roseville Cinema

It’s been quite a while since I saw a foreign-language film. Actually, we haven’t seen many films at all in the past year or so.

I very much enjoyed The Women on the 6th Floor. All the performances were good, and I loved the friendship between the women, the gradual changes in Jean-Louis, and the quirky humour.

However, I was quite disappointed by the ending. (Spoilers follow.) For one thing, I was a bit confused as to exactly what the legal status of MarĂ­a’s son was. I thought she said she had given him up for adoption, and when she was told he was at school, I assumed this meant it was a school chosen by his adoptive parents. And that by going there, she would get to see him, and maybe even build up some kind of relationship with him and his parents. But if that was the case, I don’t see how she could have legally regained custody of him at the end – and I also don’t see how you could drag him away from the only parents he had known. So maybe you were meant to assume that he hadn’t been adopted, and that the school was some kind of orphanage or something.

More importantly, though, I really thought that Jean-Louis would end up seeing that he was just infatuated with Maria, that he still loved his wife, and that he could change his own life if he wanted to – say, by giving up his job and moving to the country. There seemed to be hints all the way through that this would be the case. Although she was initially presented as shallow and selfish, I felt that Suzanne ended up being quite a sympathetic character – or at least, one with the potential to be sympathetic. And her statement that she was just a country-girl strongly suggested that she wasn’t necessarily going to cling on, tooth and nail, to her existence in society.

So I was very surprised when he casually mentioned at the end that they were divorced, and that she was now with an artist – that seemed to come completely from left-field. I started to wonder if they had changed their minds about the ending – or even if they had done test screenings and changed it due to audience feedback. (Though if that’s the case, I think the test audiences were Wrong.) Because I found the ending unsatisfying, and I just couldn’t believe in it.