Female Agents (2008) is an engaging historical film set in World War II France. Directed by Jean-Paul Salmone, it tells the story of female agents (hence the name) who have been, well, drafted for an important mission for the newly founded Special Operations Executive (SOE). It’s based on a true story, but it’s very hard to know how close the film sticks to the facts. Often, it feels like the movie has taken a Hollywood turn during some of the more hair-raising moments, and there are many of those. But, I found it to be a fascinating film about a story I was completely unfamiliar with. There must be thousands of amazing stories from World War II that have never been told. I imagine one of the characters being asked what she did in the war, and she replies, “Oh, nothing much really, I was a nurse.”
The movie is in French with English subtitles, so there’s a caution for those who avoid foreign films. It stars Sophie Marceau as the beautiful but deadly Louise Defontaines, the female leader of the female agents. In a nod to the Dirty Dozen, she and four other women are given little choice but to help rescue a British geologist who should never have been caught. He holds crucial information about the Normandy landing, and his information could gravely hamper the war effort. But, if that wasn’t enough, they are given an even more dangerous assignment, and there’s no going home until it’s completed. Given the assignment of killing Colonel Heindrich, played to perfection by Moritz Bleibtreu, the women must stop the one man who could bring down the D Day invasion completely. Surprise is everything, and this film is filled with surprises.
While I give the film high marks, there are some reservations worth reporting. This is not a family film, it is not child friendly, and there is nudity, sex and violence. If you add the French and German dialogue, it will not be for everyone. But, if you love history, an exciting story, and plot twists, this may be for you.