MovieChat Forums > The Soft Skin (1964) Discussion > Why Nicole turned Pierre down at the end

Why Nicole turned Pierre down at the end


It was all very unclear to me. I heard some people say she turned him down because she realized he wasn't seriously in love with her and he didn't value her. Others said it was Nicole who didn't want something serious and that Pierre had misunderstood her intentions with him. And I read somewhere else that she didn't want to marry Pierre because she still wanted her independence. I thought none of this was terribly well developped. What's your opinion? And please, tell us how that opinion is supported in the film.

I transcribed Pierre and Nicole's last scene below. I didn't understand most of it.

NICOLE:
So you want to marry me. If I say yes, you'll talk to my father. Is that it?
Listen Pierre, since some time I'm realizing that life is not at all what I thought. There's been a great misunderstanding between us. When you wanted to see me again in Paris, I was very touched because... I thought you were misjudging me. It all went so fast in Lisbonne...
When you brought me here, I suspected what it was about, but if you had told me about this appartment, I would have told you what I thought right away. Come to think of it, it's just as well that you precipitated things, that you went too quickly, because actually, we would have dragged on a little more just to end up at the same point. It was useless.
Look at last night at the restaurant, if you think I didn't notice to what extent I was irritating you, how you were feeling so uneasy... I could even say that for five minutes, you hated me. That's right. You know, when we're reduced to managing ourselves, it's not the right time to make plans for the future.
I'm sure you're hurt, but you know, I am too.
If you want, it would make me happy, we could see eachother from time to time, have dinner together -

PIERRE:
No

NICOLE:
Right. I'm really sorry. Goodbye Pierre.

So maybe I'm just really thick, but here goes...

"since some time I'm realizing that life is not at all what I thought." - What did she think and what did she realize?

"There's been a great misunderstanding between us." - Yeah that's obvious, but what exactly?

"When you wanted to see me again in Paris, I was very touched because... I thought you were misjudging me." - How so?

"I could even say that for five minutes, you hated me." I thought he wasn't feeling well because he was just preoccupied by the situation with his wife. What did he have against Nicole suddenly?

"when we're reduced to managing ourselves, it's not the right time to make plans for the future. " - So why not just wait a few weeks or months after the divorce then talk about their future again?

"I'm sure you're hurt, but you know, I am too." - Sounds like both still want eachother.


Last watched:
Jules & Jim (8.5/10)
In the Mood for Love (7.5/10)

reply

"since some time I'm realizing that life is not at all what I thought." - What did she think and what did she realize?

It's very simple: life is nothing of what we think and/or expect when we are younger. Life turns out to be much much harder.

"There's been a great misunderstanding between us." - Yeah that's obvious, but what exactly?

Humm... perhaps she means that he though he loved her but in reality he wasn't really in love with her - unlike her, who was in love with him.

"When you wanted to see me again in Paris, I was very touched because... I thought you were misjudging me." - How so?

That part I don't know what she means.

"I could even say that for five minutes, you hated me." I thought he wasn't feeling well because he was just preoccupied by the situation with his wife. What did he have against Nicole suddenly?

I think she was refering to that time when he kept ignoring and she was even chased by a freak and he didn't do anything to help her. In other words, she got very hurt with his attitude.

"when we're reduced to managing ourselves, it's not the right time to make plans for the future. " - So why not just wait a few weeks or months after the divorce then talk about their future again?

She realized that he was reluctant in leaving his wife and daughter, hence why she said that he commited a stupid mistake for having a love affair with her. I think that the fact that he already had hurt Nicole before (when he ignored her and let her be chased by a freak) also had a great weight on her decision to leave him.

"I'm sure you're hurt, but you know, I am too." - Sounds like both still want eachother.

He probably was fond of Nicole but didn't love her as much as she loved him. Nicole loved him and wanted to be with him but she took the brave move to leave him even though it was hard for her.

«I was on the fire escape! I saw ya!»

reply

First, thanks for your input.

"I think she was refering to that time when he kept ignoring and she was even chased by a freak and he didn't do anything to help her. In other words, she got very hurt with his attitude."

No, she was referring to the night before when they were at a restaurant and they were about to go to a show, she was talking and he was a bit sullen and told her to keep her voice down as others were looking at them. In the end, he explained that his attitude was because he wasn't feeling great, having come from his home and the situation there. Nothing indicated that he "hated her"!

As for the whole trip to Reims where he had the conference and took Nicole, I agree that he treated her really badly after he got rid of the guy who was keeping him. He didn't even apologize to her. But I failed to see what we were meant to glean from that: that he was an insensitive, self-absorbed guy in general? Or that he didn't really care for her? (because at other times, he seemed pretty caring).



Last watched:
Jules & Jim (8.5/10)
In the Mood for Love (7.5/10)

reply

He did apologize her, the problem is that he only did it after seeing how upset she got.

Concerning your question... in my opinion he isn't a bad person. His problem is weakness of character. Aside the fact that he isn't the most loyal person, he is practically harmless. I'd say he is 50% caring and 50% insensitive and selfish. He's a "ladies's man", therefore he is unable to control that instinct (it's stronger than him) and doesn't seem to know what he really wants.

I don't doubt that he liked Nicole... at least as a friend. But I guess he confounded friendship with love, therefore he ended up commiting a series of mistakes once he realized he wasn't sure of what he wanted.

«I was on the fire escape! I saw ya!»

reply

It's very interesting analysis, but I don't think I fully agree with you. For me, the general reason why Nicole left Lachenay is, that, being clever and insighful, she "learned" gradually who he really was, and was gravely dissappointed. The scene in restaurant made it clear ("Are you mad on me? - No, just tired", - she did "cut" their date in a restaurant, for she needed "space" to take her decision. Maybe Pierre's rudeness in restaurant was kind of trigger.

///"When you wanted to see me again in Paris, I was very touched because... I thought you were misjudging me." - How so? - That part I don't know what she means. ///

IMHO, she means that Pierre would "misjudge" her because of the intimacy that followed their first date. I think Nicole gave herself to him because initially she, a lower-class girl, was very flattered by the attention of a celebrated "high-brow" man, and felt uneasy about it afterwards.

///Humm... perhaps she means that he though he loved her but in reality he wasn't really in love with her - unlike her, who was in love with him. ///

IMO here you're right. He didn't love her. He mistook his hostility for his wife as a love for Nicole. Interesting that Nicole's physical features were in perfect contrast of these of Franca. More that that, there were some hints to Pierre's fetishism.

Listen to your enemy, for God is talking

reply

I guess you're right in all you said.

«I was on the fire escape! I saw ya!»

reply

I agree, aliza_tvito.
I would add that Pierre is essentially incapable of love because he's too self centered & Nicole realized this at the restaurant. Plus, Pierre takes Nicole to the new apartment & assumes that they will live together, but Nicole gets angry because he never mentioned marriage. She didn't like that he just assumed she'd marry him & she wants to set him straight.

reply