Love in the Afternoon (1972 film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Love in the Afternoon (original title: L'Amour l'après-midi and released in North America as Chloe in the Afternoon) is a 1972 film by Éric Rohmer. It is the sixth and final movie in Rohmer's "Six Moral Tales" series.
An English-language remake starring Chris Rock, titled I Think I Love My Wife, was released in 2007. Neither film is a remake or derivative of Love in the Afternoon, a 1957 romantic comedy directed by Billy Wilder.
Frédéric (Bernard Verley), a young, successful lawyer, is happily married to Hélène (Françoise Verley), an English professor, and father to one child, with another on the way. Still, something eats away at him. While going through his day, Frédéric begins to ponder the times before he was married, when he was free to be with any woman he wanted and could feel the deep satisfaction of anticipation while he chased them. At one point in the film, he has an elaborate fantasy where he possesses a magical amulet that causes all women to bow to his will (the sequence features actresses from previous "Moral Tales"). These thoughts do not distress Frédéric though, as he sees these ideas as a reflection of how true his love to his wife is.
One day, an old friend shows up suddenly at Frédéric's office. Chloé (Zouzou) was the girlfriend of an old friend, a woman who caused his friend a great deal of grief. At first he believes she only wants something from him, but over time, as she tries a series of jobs to attempt some type of solidity in her life, the two begin spending afternoons together, talking of many things Frédéric finds himself unable to talk to his wife about. Eventually, Chloé confesses that while she does not desire marriage she would like to have a child, and wants the child to be from him. In a minor state of mental anguish, Frédéric ponders the paths of staying with a wife that he loves greatly or going with a woman for whom he feels a strange deep passion. In the moments before it seems Frédéric will consummate his feelings for Chloé he flees back to his wife, leaving Chloé sprawled on her bed waiting for him. It is not shown what happens to Chloé, but upon Frédéric's return to Hélène the tears that spill from her show that something definite yet not altogether dire has changed between the two of them.