Melanie Thierry leaps toward the front echelon of current French actresses with her riveting turn as Marguerite Duras in Emmanuel Finkiel’s slow-burning Memoir of Pain (La Douleur). A […] movie about a prodigious polymath whose own filmmaking exploits were groundbreaking, even scandal-stoking in their radicalism, it absorbingly dramatizes certain key episodes from the legendary writer’s private life in Paris during 1944-45.
A highly successful novelist, memoirist and screenwriter – Oscar-nominated for Alain Resnais’ classic Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) – Duras was also a philosopher and intellectual of daunting reputation. Director Finkiel, himself a Cesar winner for best short and best debut feature (for 1999’s Voyages), sets himself the tough task of adapting her 1985 collection of texts later translated into English as The War: A Memoir.
Thierry is utterly convincing and compelling from first to last, in a deglamorized but sensual performance of tautly controlled severity and uncompromising rigor. […] Thierry nails every fluctuation of mood.
Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter