The Unknown Girl (2016)


The Unknown Girl (2016)
La fille inconnue (original title)

The efficient Dr. Jenny Davin works hard and has been chosen to replace Dr. Habran, who has just retired, at the Kennedy Hospital. One night, someone rings the bell of her office after-hours and Dr. Davin asks her trainee Julien to not open the door since does not to seem an emergency. On the next morning, Police Inspectors Ben Mahmoud and Bercaro require her surveillance tape since a teenager was found dead on the other side of the road and they are investigating what happened. Jenny feels guilty for not opening the door and becomes obsessed to find the teenager's identity. Her investigation affects her relationship with patients that might know something about the unknown girl.
IMDb   6.5 /10
Metacritic   65 %
TheMovieDb    6.1 /10
FilmAffinity   6.0 /10
Release Date2016-10-05
Runtime1h 53min
GenreCrime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Content RatingUnrated (Unrated)
Awards2 wins & 7 nominations.
CompanyLes Films du Fleuve, Archipel 35, Savage Film
CountryBelgium, France
Le père de Bryan
La mère de Bryan
Nadège Ouedraogo
Nadège Ouedraogo
La caissière du cybercafé
Le fils Lambert
Pierre Sumkay
Pierre Sumkay
Le père Lambert
Yves Larec
Yves Larec
Le docteur Habran
Ben Hamidou
Ben Hamidou
L'inspecteur Ben Mahmoud
Laurent Caron
Laurent Caron
L'inspecteur Bercaro
Le docteur Riga
Le patient diabétique
Thomas Doret
Thomas Doret
Le proxénète

The Unknown Girl

The Unknown Girl (French: La Fille inconnue) is a 2016 Belgian-French drama film directed by the Dardenne brothers, and starring Adèle Haenel, Jérémie Renier, and Louka Minnella.

The Unknown Girl was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. The film was released in Belgium on 5 October 2016 by Cinéart and in France on 12 October 2016 by Diaphana.


Jenny Davin (Haenel), a hard-working young Belgian doctor, is wrapping up her days at a small free clinic in Liège, having accepted a new job at a larger practice. She is exhausted after a long day of seeing patients and dealing with her petulant intern, Julien (Bonnaud). When the buzzer rings after hours, Jenny instructs Julien to ignore it. The next day, Jenny is devastated to hear that the person who rang the buzzer the previous night, a young African woman, was found dead by the river, her skull fractured. Surveillance footage shows the young woman running away from someone and banging on the clinic door in desperation. Guilt-ridden, Jenny is determined to find out who the unknown girl was.


  • Adèle Haenel as Jenny Davin, young physician
  • Olivier Bonnaud as Julien, medical school student
  • Jérémie Renier as Bryan's father
  • Louka Minnella as Bryan
  • Christelle Cornil as Bryan's mother
  • Nadège Ouedraogo as Cashier at the cybercafé
  • Olivier Gourmet as Lambert's son
  • Pierre Sumkay as Monsieur Lambert
  • Yves Larec as Doctor Habran, retired owner of the clinic
  • Ben Hamidou as Inspector Ben Mahmoud
  • Laurent Caron as Inspector Bercaro
  • Fabrizio Rongione as Doctor Riga
  • Myriem Akheddiou as Doctor Riga's assistant
  • Jean-Michel Balthazar as Diabetic patient
  • Thomas Doret as Lucas
  • Marc Zinga as Pimp


In April 2015, Adèle Haenel joined the cast of the film, with the Dardenne brothers, Luc and Jean-Pierre, directing from a screenplay they wrote. The Unknown Girl is produced through the directors' Belgian company Les Films du Fleuve in collaboration with the French company Archipel 35. Filming began in October 2015 and ended on 22 December.


The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on 18 May 2016. Sundance Selects had previously acquired U.S distribution rights to the film. Mixed critical response to the film led to the Dardenne brothers making extensive cuts after Cannes, shortening the film by seven minutes than the original cut premiered at the festival. Luc Dardenne stated that "There are several critics who are also friends who liked it a lot but thought there were certain places in the film that didn’t work very well. I believe it was that which prompted our concern. We were ready to make changes." The new cut was officially shown in June at the Institut Lumière in Lyon, France. The film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the New York Film Festival on 12 October 2016. The film was released in Belgium on 5 October 2016 and in France on 12 October 2016.

In the United Kingdom, the BBC Four broadcast was on 30 March 2019.


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 70% approval rating based on 80 reviews, with an average score of 6.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Unknown Girl isn't quite up to the standards of the Dardenne brothers' best work, but remains a well-acted effort that pays poignant – albeit limited – dividends." At Metacritic, the film received a score of 65 out of 100 based on 21 reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".