Critic Reviews



Based on 16 critic reviews provided by
Slant Magazine
The lack of ambiguity reflects Benoît Jacquot's treatment of the text, which is devoid of either formal obsessiveness or a contemporary hook.
Diary of a Chambermaid is beautifully shot and Jacquot's adaptation, co-scripted with Helene Zimmer, effectively conveys the casual violence of country life as well as the petty obsessions and miserliness of the bourgeoisie and the harsh treatment of their servants. The performances are also superb and Seydoux's stillness and quiet hauteur is particularly memorable.
Unfolding elliptically, the new film can feel abrupt and unsatisfying, but it’s filled with sharp commentary on class and servitude, and the actress delivers another extraordinary performance.
Ms. Seydoux’s triumph is her skill at imbuing Célestine with an almost angelic radiance that clashes with her underlying coarseness.
In spurts, it resembles an homage to classic French cinema and an overheated, Tinto Brass-esque Euro skin flick, but still finds plenty of room for stultifying, upstairs-downstairs costume drama.
If Chambermaid lacks the dramatic push to carry it through to the end, Seydoux’s performance remains robust and engaging throughout.
The film milks some brisk comedy from its upstairs-downstairs peekaboo, but is too breezy to convince in its depiction of obsessive erotic fixation — making for a “Diary” that oddly feels less exposing as it goes along.
Benoît Jacquot’s The Diary of a Chambermaid is a gorgeously mounted and dramatically inert bit of fluff that drapes itself over a smoldering Léa Seydoux but never manages to catch fire.
Village Voice
Star Léa Seydoux — in her second collaboration with Jacquot (the first being 2012's Farewell, My Queen, in which she plays an adoring reader to Marie Antoinette) — further demonstrates, with each sly, gap-toothed grin, a keen understanding of power and impotence.
The Playlist
Where Jacquot largely knows what he's doing on a micro-level within individual scenes, and the sets and costuming are pretty special, he seems unable to assemble the parts into a coherent, consistent whole. So the film meanders and hiccups.

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