Director, co-writer, and star Maurice Pialat brought his typically unblinking New Wave style and interest in socially aberrant behavior to this psychological drama, winner of two Cesars (the French equivalent of the Oscar) for Best Film and Most Promising Young Actress (Sondrine Bonnaire).
Bonnaire plays Suzanne, a 15-year-old girl who has become sexually promiscuous with anyone who will have her, despite her lack of affection for any of her lovers. The only boy she refuses is Luc (Cyr Boitard), whose feelings for Suzanne are sincere.
When Suzanne's beloved father (Pialat) abandons his increasingly neurotic wife (Evelyne Ker), Suzanne's depression and lack of direction deepen. While her mother becomes a screeching mental case, her brother Robert (Dominique Besnehard) begins beating her, although he also harbors a disturbing attraction to Suzanne.
In the denouement, Pialat depicts the devastating long-term results of Suzanne's abusive upbringing. Pialat draws powerful performances from his cast, with no finer example than the riveting acting Bonnaire -- in only her second film.