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13. Monsieur Hire (M. Hire)

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Monsieur Hire (M. Hire) - Review

The title character, M. Hire (Michel Blanc), is a quiet, unprepossessing man. Slightly odd, he is persecuted by his neighbours for his aloofness. He seems indifferent to this abuse.

He is a middle-aged balding sombre man. His remaining jet-black hair contrasts with his unnaturally pale face. Monsieur Hire's life is organised with the precision of an obsessive compulsive who fears any deviation from routine. He lives alone in a neatly ordered apartment.

He dresses neatly and and goes out each day to work by himself in his small office in town. He operates a mail-order business.

Each night he comes home to his modest flat in an apartment block and his pet mice. He cooks an egg, listens to the same piece of music, and stands in the dark looking out of his window, staring across the court into the apartment of a young woman called Alice (Sandrine Bonnaire).

M Hire is obviously a voyeur. Every aspect of Alice's life is open to him. Alice is unaware of M.Hire, concealed by the darkness. He watches her every move - eating, sleeping, receiving her fiancé Emile (Luc Thuillier). He is cold and cruel, and does not seem to make her happy.

A young woman - not Alice - is found dead in the neighborhood. Monsieur Hire is a suspect, since there are no real clues and M Hire is known as an odd character. He has no friends. He is not liked. Suspicion grows.

One evening a flash of lightning during a storm illuminates M Hire behind his window, Alice glimpses him staring at her.

Alice does not behave as one might expect. To be sure she is disconcerted, but she does not seem too worried about her privicy. Perhaps she enjoys being watched. She engineers a meeting with M.Hire the next day. They strike up a relationship, and we discover that there is more to the story than we suspected.

M Hire has a police record. We learn this as he is repeatedly questioned by a policeman - the interplay of Inspector (André Wilms) and suspect is masterfully accomplished.

Together with fine acting, the writing and cinematography produces an extraordinary movie playing on the themes of loneliness, frustrated passion, the power of love, and betrayal.

Monsieur Hire is a film about desires never fulfilled, conversations never held, dreams never lived, fantasies never realized.

The story of Monsieur Hire comes from a novel by Georges Simenon. Les Fiançailles de M. Hire is one of his best stories, a study of loneliness - much more detailed than the film.

Monsieur Hire (M. Hire) - Information

Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller, Romance
81 min
Directed by
Patrice Leconte
Writing credits
Georges Simenon (novel Les Fiançailles de M. Hire)
Patrice Leconte &
Patrick Dewolf
Produced by
Philippe Carcassonne — producer
René Cleitman — producer
Original Music Michael Nyman
Non-Original Music Johannes Brahms (from "Quartet in G minor, opus 25")
Cinematography by Denis Lenoir
Country: France
Colour: Colour
Sound Mix: Mono

Michel Blanc — Monsieur Hire
Sandrine Bonnaire — Alice
Luc Thuillier — Emile
André Wilms — Inspector
Eric Bérenger
Marielle Berthon
Philippe Dormoy
Marie Gaydu
Michel Morano
Nora Noël
Cristiana Réali
Bernard Soufflet
André Bauduin
Rozeen Landrevie


Bizarrely, No DVD of this film seems to be available

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