Trailer: Juliette Binoche Turns Avatar in Cyber Drama ‘Who You Think I Am’
At a time when an entire generation is growing up begging for attention on social media, the burning question of just where our real identity ends and our digital one begins carries a genuine urgency. Are we becoming more like the surface presentation than the real person? Have we been filtered into a shadow of our actual selves?
Now, a daring new French film reminds us how much more complex that question is when applied to romantic meanderings in the digital world. Indeed, in the tellingly titled Who You Think I Am, the always ethereal Juliette Binoche plays Claire Millaud, a middle-aged literature professor who has called things off with her hunky but emotionally distant young lover. Yet she’s developed a fascination with his roommate Alex, from just one chance phone call, and decides to pursue him on Facebook by creating a much younger avatar named Clara Atunes. In the just-released trailer we see her explaining the situation to her therapist by insisting, “I wasn’t pretending to be 24…I was 24.”
Ultimately it unfolds as a kind of virtual Fatal Attraction. Identities become blurred, reality is distorted by digital deceptions, and the emotional perils of the social media’s more insidious capabilities, combined with human frailty, tendency towards obsession and instinct for self-preservation are on full, frightful display. At one point Claire describes her online existence as “both the shipwreck and the raft.” Though social platforms are certainly much more like the former than the latter.
Who You Think I Am was co-written and helmed by Safy Nebbou, who notably directed Gérard Depardieu in the 2008 film L’Autre Dumas, about the 19th Century author of The Three Musketeers. It’s due in select theaters (The Quad in New York, the Landmark in LA) September 3 via Cohen Media Group, before a national rollout. Expect it to be promoted vigorously on social media.