After working for three years on a novel, writer Martin Frost (David Thewlis of “Naked”) borrows the empty country house of his friends for a long-needed rest. No sooner does he arrive, however, than an idea for a new story inspires him to get back to work. When he wakes the following morning, eager to begin his new tale, Martin is shocked to find a strange young woman (Irène Jacob) sleeping next to him in bed the attractive, effervescent Claire.
Presumably the niece of his hosts, Claire wittily overcomes Martin’s initial resistance to her, and the two of them agree to share the country house, while promising to respect each other’s space. Soon their attraction for each other takes over and they begin to fall in love; but is Claire really the person she claims to be?
As Martin nears the finish of his story, Claire falls deathly ill. Does this mysterious muse have an existence independent from Martin’s story? Can the imaginary cross over into the real world, and, if so, what are the consequences? These weighty questions are handled with a light touch, peppered with wordplay, puns, and pratfalls. Just when the story seems to verge on tragedy, it takes an unpredictable turn into comedy, ignited by a hilarious performance from Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”) as an obnoxious plumber-cum-writer whose lack of talent threatens his own muse (the director’s daughter).
“The Inner Life of Martin Frost” is a philosophical mystery that asks us to question the manner in which we define reality and the way we choose to see the world around us. Like much of Auster’s work (“The New York Trilogy,” “The Brooklyn Follies,” “The Music of Chance”), this witty and haunting parable tells a wonderful story and also functions as a testament to the pleasures of storytelling.