The Refuge

This was the official website for the US release of the 2009 French drama, The Refuge /Hideaway directed by François Ozon. The film starred Isabelle Carré and French singer Louis-Ronan Choisy, who wrote the music for the film and the title song. The film won the Special Prize of the Jury at the 2009 San Sebastián International Film Festival.

Content is from outside sources including RottenTomatoes reviews and the plot line from Wikipedia.


Louis and Mousse, a couple in their early 30s, are doing drugs in bed in a luxurious half empty Parisian apartment. A drug dealer brings them six grams of heroin and Louis injects Mousse and himself with it. The next morning, rising early; Louis gives himself another shot, which is fatal.

Louis' mother arrives trying to rent the apartment, and she discovers the couple: Louis is dead from an overdose, but Mousse is alive. She is taken to a hospital where she finally awakens. Mousse is informed of the death of her boyfriend and that she is pregnant. After Louis' funeral and burial, his mother, bluntly, tells the confused Mousse that they do not want an heir for her death son and that they have made arrangements to terminate the pregnancy. Louis’ brother, Paul, looks on, empathizing with Mousse.

Some months later, Mousse has found refuge in a seaside country house where she lives as a recluse during the pregnancy she has decided to keep. The house has been lent to her by an older man who was Mousse’s lover when she was sixteen years old. In her hideaway, she takes her time to meditate on her future while living with limited funds and dependent on the methadone she must take in order to stay off heroin. Emotionally guarded, her only contact with the outside world is Serge, a local young man, who delivers her food.

Mousse’s quiet existence is disrupted when Paul, Louis’ brother, on his way to Spain, stops at the house to see how she is doing. Paul’s visit is not only unexpected, but unwelcome. However, she allows him to stay. As they begin to share the house and to talk, Mousse warms up to him and they become friends. Paul sees in Mousse a kindred spirit. He tries to get her to go out, something she has not done, preferring to stay home, away from people. Paul finally convinces her to go to the beach with him. There, she is distraught by a well-intentioned, but overbearing woman who gives her unwelcome stories and advice about being pregnant. Talking to Paul, Mousse realizes that he is very different from his brother. This is not surprising as he tell her that he is not Louis' biological brother, but was adopted. Paul is gay and not a threat to the very pregnant Mousse. However, she gets jealous when she finds out that Paul has spent the night in the house with Serge. They had met at the nearby village beginning an affair. Upset, Mousse is rude to Serge.

One day, at an outdoor cafe, Mousse’ meets an attractive man who hits on her. He is straightforward and invites her to his room overlooking the water to make love to her. At first she is game, but at the last minute she rejects his advances and asks him to caresses her instead of having sex. After a night of dancing and drinking at a local disco with Paul and Serge, Mousse and Paul share confidences. Paul talks about his adoption while Mousse begins to achieve a degree of emotional closure about her relationship with Louis.

When one night Paul returns home drunk, Mousse helps him to go to bed. As they have tender feeling for each other, they make love. Although both are happy about what has transpired, it is time for Paul's departure. He promises to visit her in Paris when she has the baby.

Mousse give birth to baby girl, Louise, and Paul comes to see them at the hospital. Their reunion is a joyfull event. Mousse tells Paul to look after the baby while she takes a brief cigarette break. In fact she leaves for good. Not ready to be a mother, she feels Paul will be a much better parent to her baby.



TOMATOMETER Critics 86%  |  Audience 59%

Mousse (Isabelle Carre) and Louis (Melvil Poupaud) are young, beautiful, rich and in love, but drugs have invaded their lives. After Louis fatal overdose, Mousse soon learns she is pregnant (actress Isabelle Carr was pregnant while shooting.) Feeling lost, Mousse escapes to a beautiful beach house far from Paris and is soon joined in her refuge by Louis gay brother, Paul (French singer Louis-Ronan Choisy in his first screen appearance). The two strangers gradually develop an unusual and deeply moving relationship as Ozon continues his unique exploration of the nature of family and blood ties. –

Rating: R

Genre: Art House & International, Drama

Directed By:   François Ozon

Written By:     François Ozon, Mathieu Hippeau

In Theaters:     Sep 10, 2010  Limited

On Disc/Streaming:     Nov 8, 2010

Box Office:      $23,604

Runtime:         88 minutes

Studio: Strand Releasing



October 28, 2010  | Rating: 3/4

Roger Ebert

Chicago Sun-Times Top Critic

For a time in her life, a woman's pregnancy is the most important thing about her. That is the subject of Hideaway.


September 17, 2010 | Rating: 4/5

Kevin Thomas

Los Angeles Times Top Critic

Hideaway" is a spellbinding film, and Ozon, who is perhaps best known for the much darker Under the Sand and Swimming Pool ... continues to be an inspiring director of actors.


October 7, 2010| Rating: 3/4

Mick LaSalle

San Francisco Chronicle Top Critic

Drama. Starring Isabelle Carré and Louis-Ronan Choisy. Directed by Francois Ozon. In French with English subtitles. (Not rated. 90 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.)

Any scene in "Hideaway" might be used for an example of Isabelle Carré's fine acting, but the first thing to notice is the look in her eyes. She plays a heroin addict in this film, and her eyes tell of someone who can accept this drug-addicted self as her identity, almost as a matter of course. She gives us neither the shame we expect nor the other thing we might expect, the flailing self-assertion and defiance. Rather, she gives us the illumination of limitation.

Carré shows us enough so that we notice what is not present in this person, as in a healthy self-respect, or an ability and willingness to engage with the world. Carré doesn't ask herself the sentimental question that another actress might ask - "How would I behave if I were a heroin addict?" - but rather, by some odd intuition, she gives us a complete character from the ground up, someone rough, partly unknowable and not exactly lovable.

Francois Ozon ("Swimming Pool," "5 x 2," "8 Women") wrote and directed "Hideaway," which begins with a scene of a young couple shooting up. Within a few minutes of screen time, the plot kicks in: Mousse (Carré) wakes up in the hospital and finds out (1) that the boyfriend is dead; and (2) That she's pregnant. Because that's a movie rule: Any young man who dies abruptly or unexpectedly always, always has a pregnant girlfriend.

But after that slam-bang opening, "Hideaway" slows down. Mousse, pregnant and on methadone, goes to live by the seaside, and her dead boyfriend's gay brother (Louis-Ronan Choisy) starts spending time with her. They do a lot of talking. In some ways, "Hideaway" can be seen as an unintentional almost-parody of a European film: We get a great setup and then, instead of an exciting follow-through, we get endless conversation.

Yet Ozon has always been a showman, and in his hands, "Hideaway" finds its way to its own peculiar integrity and interest. What might have been a gimmick, the casting of a very pregnant woman as a very pregnant woman, ends up benefiting the film in a way that's hard to define, though it has something to do with the overlap between fact and fiction. Gradually, Ozon and the actors convince us of the reality of this world and persuade us to watch the film on its own, unforced terms. Nothing much is happening, except life.

-- Advisory: This film contains drug use, strong language (in subtitle) and sexual situations.



September 10, 2010 | Rating: 3/4

V.A. Musetto

New York Post Top Critic

Surely, Ozon had Rohmer in mind when he co-wrote and directed this lovely film.


January 16, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/5

Simon Miraudo


Roger Ebert is the bane of many a film critics’ existence. He is able to convey in one concise sentence what it takes lesser writers like myself thousands of words to say. On the subject of The Refuge, he states: “For a time in her life, a woman’s pregnancy is the most important thing about her”. I will take a leaf out of Ebert’s book and keep my review short; consider it an exercise in succinctness, in honour of an understated little film that remains remarkably touching and still packs an almighty final punch.

François Ozon’s The Refuge invites us to spend a few months at an isolated French hideaway with a pregnant drug addict and the gay brother of her late boyfriend. Needless to say, hijinks do not ensue. The mother, Mousse (played by the luminous Isabelle Carré), discovers that she is a vessel for new life only after her partner Louis (Melvil Poupaud) overdoses in their apartment. Louis’ family don’t want Mousse to keep the baby, but she does, even if she’s not fully sure ‘why’. Off she heads to a chateau on the French countryside where she will stay away from drugs and watch her baby grow in peace. Louis’ brother Paul (Louis-Ronan Choisy) joins her for a time, and although he’s gay, we know that his relationship with Mousse will evolve beyond mere friendly companions.

Does she actually want to be a mother? Hard to say. Does she even feel her baby moving around her? We’re not privy to any scenes like that. The film is free of Knocked Up-style observations on the quirks of carrying a baby; we witness her belly’s embiggening, and that’s it. However, Mousse is clearly entranced by the mere act of being pregnant; of creating, protecting and contributing to something bigger than herself. When the baby arrives, Mousse feels disconnected from her child. How can something can be a part of you for nine months, and then, a completely different person? So few films are made about pregnancy and childbirth; few discussions are held about it without the phrases “pro-choice” or “pro-life” being shouted over the top. The time we spend with the complex Mousse, as she navigates the conflicting emotions a bulging belly brings, allows us to ponder these miracles in full.

Ebert says The Refuge is about “a woman’s pregnancy [being] the most important thing about her”. However, as we see in the film’s final moments, carrying the baby is probably the second most important thing humans can do. It’s what comes next that really matters.




**** ½ Oskar F October 9, 2010

Loved the way it was filmed, the timing and the acting, oh, and the little piano song, loved it too!


** Gerasimos E September 29, 2010

A disappointing homage to the cinema of Eric Rohmer. Ozon has done better in the past.


*** ½ Citizen P September 27, 2010

Beautiful and quiet film.


*** ½  Ed B September 23, 2010

Of the three movies I have seen this month, 'Hideaway' is the second in which someone dies of a drug overdose on-screen in the first five minutes. It's an effective way to grab your attention and kick-start a movie. (The third film I saw this month, 'The American', kills off three people in its first five minutes, again for 'let's get this party started' purposes.) However it was while I was watching The Refuge /Hideaway that I finally accepted that I was going to have to get some glasses for distance viewing. I had been putting off the inevitable for a while, but when some makes an observation about some art production element in the film and all I see is a hazy mess, you could say the writing is on the wall and I couldn't even see it. The next day I called an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam and then went online to do a search for designer eyeglasses for men. I found a site called - an obviously appropriate name for the site, to check out some styles. It turns out that they are not only an e commerce site but also have three stores. One of them was in a neighboring town so I thought I would drop in after I saw the optometrist and get my prescription. WOW. I never realized what I was missing until I got my new glasses. Several years later when I was able to rent The Refuge /Hideaway on Netflix I enjoyed it even more since the actors' expressions were some much clearer and easier to see their facial reactions. I feel rather foolish in hindsight, but I did discover a great online site where not only I can  get replacement lens but also new frames whenever I choose.

I like Francois Ozon films, especially those with Charlotte Rampling, eg, 'Swimming Pool'. 'Hideaway' has no Charlotte Rampling role, alas; she livens-up Ozon's dolorous tendencies. However, like 'Swimming Pool', 'Hideaway' is about the lead character's personal growth through a form of 'alternative parenting', in her case a relationship with her dead boyfriend's gay brother.

The young actress who plays the lead has to overcome a lot of lugubrious setups in the dialogue and action in order to bring her part alive. She even had to be actually pregnant. She rises to the occasion, largely in response to the emotionally appealing, extremely handsome gay guy with whom she spends quality time during her character's pregnancy in the 'hideaway' beach house that gives the movie its title.

The gay brother is so bright and attractive that he even gives a straight girl junkie reason to live through his charm, wit, soulfulness--plus a night of drunken but transformational (for her) heterosexual sex. In return for which, the gay brother gets to keep the baby post-birth because he is the only nurturing character in the fim, male or female. A bit of a cliche about gay people, but at least for once a positive one.

Fun to watch good French actors bring life and conviction to thin material. Not unlike the reason to watch many American films, ie, performance can trump lots of story problems. Good. Could have been better.


**** Christien T September 23, 2010

Like most of Ozon's films, it contains several moments of transformative power.


Sakaki - September 7, 2010

original and very funny