The Five Devils Film Review

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Léa Mysius’ The Five Devils: A Captivating Drama on Broken Hearts

Léa Mysius’ The Five Devils, also known as Les Cinq Diables, is a mesmerizing French drama that delves into the complexities of shattered relationships and features a powerful performance by Adèle Exarchopoulos. Despite the five-year hiatus since her acclaimed debut film Ava in 2017, Mysius has been actively involved in the French film industry, collaborating with renowned directors such as Jacques Audiard, Arnaud Desplechin, and Claire Denis. These collaborations have shaped her artistic journey and influenced her versatility as a filmmaker.

A Fiery Beginning

The film opens with a gripping scene that immediately captivates the viewer. The sound of haunting screams fills the air as a group of gymnasts, clad in sparkling outfits, watches a building engulfed in flames. As the camera pans, we are introduced to Joanne Soler, portrayed by the exceptional Adèle Exarchopoulos. Her tear-filled eyes reveal the depth of her anguish, hinting at a troubled past. In this eerie and unsettling moment, Mysius skillfully creates an atmosphere similar to a horror film, planting the seeds of anticipation and curiosity in the audience’s minds.

An Enigmatic Journey Unfolds

What follows is a mesmerizing exploration of past and present, seamlessly woven together to form a captivating narrative. Vicky, a young girl portrayed brilliantly by Sally Dramé, possesses a unique gift – the ability to recreate scents that trigger vivid memories. When Vicky senses something amiss after a disturbing dream about her mother, Joanne, she embarks on a quest to uncover the truth. This quest leads her to her estranged aunt Julia, played by Swala Emati, and unravels a story of romance and betrayal set in the past.

The Five Devils delves into the power of scent memory, highlighting how specific smells can transport us back to significant moments or individuals we have encountered. Mysius skillfully employs elements of fantasy to explore the theme of parents’ past lives – a topic that has garnered attention in recent cinematic endeavors. Through Vicky’s ability to recreate aromas, the film explores the notion that scents can preserve long-forgotten memories.

Aesthetically Stunning

Paul Guilhaume’s cinematography adds to the film’s allure, creating a hallucinatory sensation in every frame. The misty ambiance of the mountains further enhances the sensory experience, blurring the boundaries between past and present. Mysius’s direction impresses with its bold choices and the fusion of genres, captivating viewers with every twist and turn.

A Tale of Emotional Depth

The Five Devils is masterfully divided into two halves, each characterized by a distinct emotional tone. In the first half, Mysius strikes a delicate balance between melodrama and authenticity, while the second half unleashes a torrent of raw emotions. Adèle Exarchopoulos delivers a tour de force performance, showcasing her remarkable talent and magnetic screen presence. The ensemble cast, including Sally Dramé, Swala Emati, Moustapha Mbengue, and Daphné Patakia, delivers engaging and compelling portrayals.

Despite its strengths, The Five Devils may leave some viewers feeling slightly disconnected as it attempts to weave various themes together. The exploration of parents’ past lives is handled with finesse, but certain ideas may come across as heavy-handed. The specific meaning behind Vicky’s extraordinary ability remains ambiguous, leaving room for interpretation. It is conceivable that the film could have been divided into two separate narratives – one centered on Joanne and Julia’s past, and another focused on their present lives. Nevertheless, Mysius successfully merges complex narrative devices and techniques to create an emotionally resonant and thematically impactful film.


Léa Mysius’ The Five Devils is an incandescent and ambitious exploration of broken hearts, brought to life by a talented cast and Mysius’ skilled direction. With its fusion of genres, evocative cinematography, and thematic depth, the film carves a distinctive place within the realm of French cinema. Through the intertwining threads of past and present, the power of scents, and the depiction of complex family dynamics, Mysius invites the audience to embark on a journey of self-discovery and understanding. The Five Devils demands attention and rewards viewers with a thought-provoking and visually stunning cinematic experience.


1. Is The Five Devils based on a true story?

No, The Five Devils is a work of fiction created by director Léa Mysius. It explores themes of past lives and the power of scent memory in a unique and imaginative way.

2. What other films has Adèle Exarchopoulos starred in?

Adèle Exarchopoulos gained international recognition for her breakthrough role in the film Blue Is the Warmest Color. Since then, she has continued to impress audiences with her versatile performances in various French and international films, solidifying her status as one of the most talented actresses of her generation.

3. How does The Five Devils compare to Léa Mysius’ previous film, Ava?

The Five Devils marks a departure from the coming-of-age themes explored in Ava. While Ava focuses on the journey of a young girl discovering her sexuality, The Five Devils delves into complex family dynamics and the impact of past traumas. Both films showcase Mysius’ evocative storytelling and visual style, but they offer distinct narratives and thematic explorations.

4. Where can I watch The Five Devils?

The Five Devils has been screened at prestigious film festivals and events, including “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2023.” The film is scheduled for release in various regions, including the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, Turkey, India, and Latin America. Stay tuned for updates on its availability in your area.

5. Does The Five Devils have English subtitles?

The availability of English subtitles may vary depending on the release and screening locations. Check with your local cinema or streaming platforms for information on subtitle options.