The Headless Woman

  • 2007
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Thriller

Veronica (Maria Onetto) is a successful upper-middle-class Argentinian, a dentist with a good practice, a family that loves her and, perhaps a little too much, depends upon her. She is over-extended in her life and work, all of which leads to a possible tragedy. One afternoon, while driving alone on a deserted country road, Vero starts struggling with her...read more

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Reviewed by Bruce Eder
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Veronica (Maria Onetto) is a successful upper-middle-class Argentinian, a dentist with a good practice, a family that loves her and, perhaps a little too much, depends upon her. She is over-extended in her life and work, all of which leads to a possible tragedy. One afternoon, while driving alone on a deserted country road, Vero starts struggling with her cell phone and strikes something with her car. Was it an object, or a dog -- or a person? She cannot say, and neither can we -- but as the days progress, her misgivings grow more pronounced, and soon she is making unofficial inquiries. At first, all of officialdom is reassuring to her that nothing serious could have happened, but soon she hears of searches being made, and a body possibly being discovered in the vicinity of her accident.

Thus begins director Lucrecia Martel's The Headless Woman. A psychological thriller with a topical edge, its story -- about a woman who may (or may not) have killed someone -- is steeped in the class differences of modern-day Argentina. Martel's own screenplay never reveals too much, as her protagonist struggles against her own dread of discovering too much, and grapples with a social order whose members -- at her level -- don't wish to get too close to the truth of what happened. The viewer is left to guess, as much as the characters, at the actual events that are glimpsed obliquely -- a line of dialogue here or there, seemingly innocent, takes on ominous potential meaning, as much to us as to the characters. Martel knows how to reveal precisely enough information, between her camera and her dialogue, to keep the viewer engrossed but also off balance, in a manner that sustains the suspense across most of the length of the movie. In the end, that suspense -- did she kill a dog, or was it a boy? -- coupled with several superb acting performances, drives this thriller to its unsettling conclusion.

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  • Released: 2007
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Veronica (Maria Onetto) is a successful upper-middle-class Argentinian, a dentist with a good practice, a family that loves her and, perhaps a little too much, depends upon her. She is over-extended in her life and work, all of which leads to a possible tr… (more)

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