‘Elle’ impossible without Isabelle Huppert, who propels provocateur Paul Verhoeven

If her recent win at the Golden Globes – beating the likes of Natalie Portman and Amy Adams – hinted at how amazing Isabelle Huppert is, wait until you see “Elle.”

It begins with off-screen sounds: Breaking glass, a female voice in some sort of distress. Then we see a cat, its eyes passive and opaque. And then we see what’s happening. A woman (Huppert) is being raped by a masked intruder. In her own home. In broad daylight.