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On his 9th birthday, a young boy suddenly tells his mother that he wants to go home to his "real" mother. This declaration leads to an eerie and engrossing mystery which blurs the boundaries between psychological thriller and ghost story.
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"You're not my mommy." These words are uttered with complete certitude by the 9-year-old son of upper-class Parisian Isabelle Huppert; mother and son are about to enter the Twilight Zone. Comedy of Innocence is from the prolific Chilean-born filmmaker Raoul Ruiz, a director less interested in telling conventional stories than he is in playing with the boundaries of what a movie is. The 9-year-old demands to be taken to the home of a stranger (swanlike Jeanne Balibar, from Va savoir), whom he proclaims to be his true mother. Ruiz's command of mood and atmosphere carries the movie through its tantalizing set-up, and Huppert is of course a superb presence. She plays against the expectations of the role, finding the simmering truth beneath. One might hope for a bit more meat in the lackadaisical middle section of the film, but the eventual explanation is intriguing and worth hanging around for. --Robert Horton
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