“The Page Turner”–Notes to a Thriller

The Page Turner

A French cinematic sleeper (2006), “The Page Turner” is a thriller as subtle as a sonata, fine-tuned and intricately composed.

The story opens with young gifted pianist Mélanie Prouvost, the ten-year-old daughter of a butcher, methodically practicing for an entrance exam to a prestigious music conservatory.  She and her parents have high expectations and she is determined to be one of the students. Beginning the audition in top form, Mélanie is thrown off balance by one of the judges Ariane Fouchecourt who, rather oblivious to her performance, signs an autograph, distracting Mélanie with devastating consequences.   She waits ten years, plotting her revenge on Ariane who, she feels, sealed her fate never to play again.

Mélanie soon becomes a legal secretary for Ariane Fouchecourt’s husband and rapidly insinuates her way into the lives of those whom she considers her targets–the Fouchecourt family.  At their estate Mélanie soon becomes indispensible: as a nanny to their young son, and more importantly, as the perfect page-turner for Ariane who, although famous, aspires to be at the top tier of pianists with recording contracts.  Shattered dreams and a lopsided dependency propel the pretty Mélanie to become so much more than a page-turner to Ariane and her son.  The husband needs Mélanie also, so he can continue as a highly successful, peripatetic corporate lawyer.

A psychological thriller and tale of vengeance, “The Page Turner” reveals, thread by thread, the web Mélanie weaves, entrapping the Fouchecourts with her charm, efficiency, and musical aptitude. Mélanie assumes the sweet taste of revenge will be hers.  As viewers we do not know what to expect.

The genius of “The Page Turner” is how everyone is blindsided by Mélanie’s corrosive plan for revenge.  The film ripples with the relentless logic of a set of calculus functions.  The younger woman baits the older like a calculating spider. It’s a cold but undeniably mesmerizing page-turner!