Female Agents (‘Les Femmes de l’Ombre’)

DRAMA; 1hr 57min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu, Déborah François, Marie Gillain, Maya Sansa

True grit: from left, Depardieu, Vincent Rottiers and Gillain

In May 1944, a quartet of diverse women — sniper Louise (Marceau), one-time prostitute Jeanne (Depardieu), explosives expert Gaëlle (François) and ex-cabaret dancer Suzy (Gillain) — parachute into German-occupied France by night on a mission for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Waiting for them is a radio operator-slash-Italian contessa (Sansa as Maria). Their objective is to assist in the smooth running of D-Day by rescuing a hospitalised British geologist (Conrad Cecil) who has vital information. Working undercover as nurses and showgirls (only in Europe!), they swiftly pull off the rescue. But when complications involving foxy SS Colonel Heindrich (Moritz Bleibtreu) ensue, the women are neck-deep in scalding water.


They cope with varying degrees of grit in this historically based high drama. Marceau, especially, has a spine of tensile steel as a widowed sniper who loses her SOE-officer brother (Julien Boisselier) in the rocky course of events. Still, there is nothing in this attractive, populist-issue package that in one way or another hasn’t been opened and examined many times before.