Inspired by a book-investigation by journalist Caroline Michel-Aguirre about a French political-industrial scandal that occurred in 2012, La syndicalist recounts the struggle that a whistleblower had to wage to not only denounce a condemnable situation , but also to regain his soiled honor.

Beyond the reminder of a case rather passed under the radar screen, Jean-Paul Salomé (The Chameleon, The Daronne) paints the portrait of a woman whose fight takes place in an eminently sexist context. Like an emulator of Erin Brockovich, Maureen Kearney (Isabelle Huppert) indeed persisted until the authorities in league against her finally recognized, six years later, her innocence.

The story begins with an event that is all the more disturbing because it is true. Union delegate at Areva, former flagship company of the French civilian nuclear program (renamed Orano in 2018), Maureen Kearney is attacked at home by hooded strangers, tied to a chair in the cellar of her house, the letter A scarified on the abdomen , raped with the handle of a knife.

Previously, she had learned, thanks to an anonymous informant, that the French State, through the companies Areva and Électricité de France (EDF), was preparing to conclude an agreement with China, in which case a very sensitive would take place towards the Middle Kingdom, provoking in its wake a huge wave of layoffs. Around 50,000 people would lose their jobs.

The politicians turn a deaf ear, and Luc Oursel (Yvan Attal), the new boss of Areva, does not hesitate to try to intimidate the trade unionist with forceful crises and as many rants. The fact that the latter, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, was put in place by the Sarkozy government to replace Anne Lauvergeon (Marina Foïs), the previous director with whom Maureen had a very good relationship, does nothing to appease the things. It should also be noted that the real names of the main players in the story are used here.

In the aftermath of the attack, Maureen must, in addition to treating her trauma, face a justice that takes her for a mythomaniac who invented everything, because no trace of the attackers is found. This drama has of course repercussions in his professional life, but also in his private and personal life.

Grégory Gadebois offers a fine performance in the role of the husband, and Marina Foïs, who perfectly embodies the righteousness of a character who understands the situation better than anyone, is remarkable in the role of the one from whom Maureen always asks for advice.

Orchestrating a tense thriller, Jean-Paul Salomé offers an effective film, the impact of which stems in particular from the authentic nature of the story. Continuing an association initiated with La daronne, whose tone was much lighter, Jean-Paul Salomé once again offers Isabelle Huppert – obviously perfect – the opportunity to explore a rarer facet of her personality as an actress.

The trade unionist also has the merit of recalling how the cogs of politico-industrial power work.