Beautiful young housewife Séverine Serizy cannot reconcile her masochistic fantasies with her everyday life alongside dutiful husband Pierre. When her lovestruck friend Henri mentions a secretive high-class brothel run by Madame Anais, Séverine begins to work there during the day under the name Belle de Jour. But when one of her clients grows possessive, she must try to go back to her normal life.
A wonderful parable of love, relationships and the place in both for fantasy and imagination. Certainly much more enjoyable to watch, not to mention better acted and directed, than recent delvings into that subject matter, like Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac (though that wasn't the latter's point). Intensely beautifully photographed, with wonderful performances, most especially by Catherine Deneuve. You can't go wrong with 60's and 70's Bunuel, that's for sure.
A blunt surprise insofar as the movies stark depictions of both a young woman's eccentric erotic fantasies alongside a rather harsh alternative lifestyle. In the middle there is a very conventional and ordinary real life tale of a married couple where the husband has no idea what's going on within his wife's mind, and life, both past and present. Reality and fantasy seem to blend in a young woman's mind implicitly suggestive of prior experiences that influenced the lead character's real and imaginary manifestations. Not for children.