Director Maurice Pialat's film is more an exercise in star power than any presentation of narrative, with Isabelle Huppert leaving her husband Guy Marchand for the leather-clad ex-con ruffian Loulou played by Depardieu. Even though the tone takes its cue from the character of Loulou as a womanising drifter, the low key seemingly improvised rambling scenes are preferable to the gab-fests of Eric Rohmer, who is responsible for the negative connotations associated with French films by Americans. This film is actually mistitled since although it is Depardieu that is the catalyst for Huppert to change her life, the story is more hers than his. Or perhaps it is that the representation of her crumbling marriage that is more dramatically interesting than Depardieu's "loafing". If Loulou's character is sketched thinly that may to keep him as an enigma, the mysterious bad-boy that women always seem to prefer. At one point Huppert says of Depardieu, "I prefer a loafer who f**ks, to a rich guy who bugs me". And although we can see how limiting Depardieu's world is to Huppert, we also understand her attraction to him, highlighted by a silent image of the couple stumbling down a street in a drunken embrace. Pialat's best moments involve scenes of violence outbursts - a family get together soured by jealousy, the loud music of a disco drowning out shouting, and a brawl between Depardieu and Marchand in a courtyard with a following drink together as evidence of the French form of civilised behaviour. Huppert also has an early scene with Marchand where the camera follows his pursuit and humiliation of her, and here Huppert's anger invalidates the myth of her as a passive performer. The film also shows us footage of her laughing, which is unusual since her situations are usually so glum, and she is funny when she yells in shocked reaction to being hit, in the famous love scene where the bed collapses, and when she falls in the street by accident. Pialat also gives Marchand a laugh by having him resort to playing the saxophone in depression.