Hang on to your hats, this is one wild ride. Michele (Isabel Huppert) is violently attacked and raped, to which she reacts as much as one might to a minor inconvenience. She is tough woman who runs her video game company by day and engages with her friends and disappointing family by night. Her son has a pregnant girlfriend and needs his mother to help finance his disaster of a life. In addition, Michele discovers that she has new neighbors who seem nice, but with whom she becomes eerily fascinated. The film is dark, and Michele is hard to decipher. There are so many twists and turns in the film that it's hard to describe without giving away key elements. There are so many moments in the plot where you are sitting on the edge of your seat like one would in a psychological thriller like The Sixth Sense.
Michele is unsettlingly calm about her attack, about a strange cyberbullying scene that depicts her as being raped and attacked in a video game, and about all of the odd things happening in her life. When she figures out that she knows her attacker, the movie becomes even more creepy (in a good way), as both the attacker and Michele find that they fill a need in each other that is unexpected, to say the least.
Elle is violent and graphic, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for everyone. But if you can endure the violence, the psychological manipulations are enough to make it worth watching. Isabelle Huppert is utterly brilliant as the woman who is craving something seemingly abnormal but who appears as a person to be totally mainstream.