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Isabelle Huppert delivers a tour-de-force Oscar-nominated performance as a rape victim who emerges from her horrific ordeal with a new-found sense of purpose, in Paul Verhoeven's provocative black comedy thriller. Based on the novel by Philippe Djian, Elle opens controversially in the midst of the assault on video games company director Michele (Huppert) by an unidentified male assailant. Rather than report the attack to the police, Michele washes away the evidence, throws away her clothes and tries to put the violent episode behind her. However, the rapist begins to send her text messages and is clearly watching her based on the contents of his communications. So Michele arms herself with pepper spray and a small axe and resolves to unmask the sick and twisted man who changed her life. There are plenty of suspicious figures in her life, including some of her employees, her ex-husband Richard (Charles Berling), who has a younger lover, and her handsome neighbour Patrick (Laurent Lafitte). Meanwhile, Elle also has to support her wastrel son Vincent (Jonas Bloquet), who cannot stand up to his abusive, pregnant girlfriend Josie (Alice Isaaz), and her elderly mother Irene (Judith Magre), who is romantically entangled with a young male escort.