Eva is the second movie at this year's festival (Transit the first) where a mediocre man inherits a recently deceased writer's manuscript and uses it to his advantage. In this case, Bertrand (Gaspard Ulliel) has a smash hit play on his hands but nothing to follow it with, due to his innate lack of talent. This is until he meets the titular heroine (Isabelle Huppert), a high-end sex worker whom he has an instant connection with. The reasoning behind this is a masterstroke of casting and gives the screenplay a break - it's Huppert after all - but following on from the star's ingenious turn the film's writers fail to pick up the slack.
The plot development of Bertrand writing a new play inspired by his interactions with Eva tails off. Likewise his relationship with his girlfriend to whom he's unfaithful has no groundwork so the directions it goes in are almost entirely irrelevant. We meet her parents, see her naked, experience her pain in his absences — and we're not entirely sure why we are privy to all these things. Bertrand has no morals, no loyalty, no attractive qualities except that deep-set dimple-scar on his left cheek that some might find alluring. He'd be infuriating if he wasn't so average and there wasn't so little to observe in him. He just grows more and more desperate as he watches Huppert's every move — and so do we.
~ Theo Macdonald