A rarefied conversation fest, the fifth of Rohmer's "Moral Tales" stars Jean-Claude Brialy as Jerome, a middle-aged intellectual who feels with his head, not his heart. A French diplomat who is about to be married to a woman he loves, but for whom he feels no passion, Jerome visits the
provincial town where he was raised. There he meets Claire (Laurence de Monaghan), a summery 17-year-old who is completely absorbed with her boyfriend. Jerome channels his desire for her into a form of passion that, for him, is much more controllable--he wants only to touch her knee.
One of Rohmer's greatest expressions of male-female relationships, CLAIRE'S KNEE presents a portrait of a man who, under his fairly charming and harmless demeanor, is eroding emotionally, convincing even himself that he can control his desires. In order to do so, he must completely detach his
actions from his heart and make a physical gesture completely devoid of romance or emotion. What makes this so poignant is that it is only the audience which understands this.