The first half of the film offers a compelling portrait of an emerging friendship, and Huppert is reliably dynamic, expressing more with a cocked eyebrow or a smirk than many actors can with words. But things take a naggingly predictable turn: Jean, who is 21, tattooed and an amateur boxer, and Liliane -- some 40 years his senior -- start hooking up, and Jean becomes her manager. While it all never sinks into the melodrama, it’s easy to wonder what the story might look like without the element of a sexual relationship. Liliane does make a comeback of sorts, and Huppert plays her not as a diva but as a withholding chanteuse whose voice isn’t as great as expected. One recurring image is Liliane having Jean zip up her dress. After a fight, Liliane, wearing an elegant gown, asks a different man to zip it for her. The implication that Liliane needs a man has a sour aftertaste, and while there's poignancy to be found in Souvenir's depiction of aging and work, the sexual politics leave something to be desired.