A young girl faces a piano examination; the piece is a challenge, but she seems up to the task. But one of the judges -- a famed pianist -- lets an avid fan come in for an autograph during the test. Thrown, the girl's concentration shatters; she fails the exam, and goes home to lock the family piano and never play. Years later, the girl -- now a woman -- is interning with a lawyer and volunteers to help tend for his son while he's away on business. When she meets her boss's family, it turns out he's married to the famed pianist whose unintentional rudeness years ago ruined her aspirations. ...

Written and directed by French director Denis Dercourt, La Tourneuse de Pages -- literally, The Page Turner, the job Melanie (Deborah Francois) takes up for Ariane Fouchecourt (Catherine Frot) -- is a careful, subtle handling of material that could have been sensationalized or phony but, instead, stays real and subtle -- and, by doing so, becomes even more suspenseful. It's easy to joke that the American treatment of a similar plotline would at some point involve Melanie leaping at her idol/tormentor with a butcher's knife, or something similarly broad; it's funny because it's true. Instead, the suspense in La Tourneuse de Pages comes out of two incredibly strong performances by Francois and Frot, which mesh not only with each other but also with Dercourt's meticulously crafted and careful script and direction.