Bitter Moon ★★★★½

Roman Polanski’s best and darkest movie since Chinatown is a fascinatingly ugly study of a relationship gone sour. Oscar (Peter Coyote), a hack writer living in Paris, falls in love with beautiful Mimi (Emmanuelle Seignert), a dancer and waitress. Their life together is bliss until they develop a taste for kinky sex, which reaches its absurd nadir when Oscar wears a pig mask and wriggles around the floor half-naked. Soon the couple fall out of love and into hate — and find they need each other more than ever. This is all told in flashback by the wheelchair-bound Oscar on a cruise to India; his captive audience is Nigel (Hugh Grant), a proper Englishman happily married to Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas). At first repelled by Oscar’s stories, Nigel becomes mesmerized by Mimi, while Oscar grooms him as her new lover. Decidedly not a date movie, it’s a typically Polanskian look at love and obsession, buoyed by a riveting performance by Coyote. Watch it back to back with Four Weddings and a Funeral (also starring Grant and Scott Thomas) for the full effect.