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The Sea Wall review

Isabelle Huppert struggles with her surly teenage children in colonial Combodia...

This good-looking 1930s-set melodrama-with-a-social-conscience is a daring move for documentarist Rithy Panh, but far from a risk-taking movie.
Granted, it laudably (if slightly clumsily) juggles the plight of dispossessed Cambodian villagers with that of its desperate colonial heroine, who struggles with a sea-menaced estate and wild teenagers.

But only Isabelle Huppert’s superbly prickly performance as the widow raging against fate and the authorities gives a welcome, caustic edge to this middlebrow drama of despair and desire.

Whether she’s walling in her rice paddies or thinking of pimping out her daughter, Huppert rivets.

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