THE SETUP: Yes, life can suck even in France. Whether you’re a single dad (Matthias Schoenaerts) with anger and responsibility issues or a whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) fighting to not let a tragedy define her, it’s all in how you handle what gets thrown at you and how many people you piss off along the way.
THE THOUGHTS: My mom once told me that it’s worth checking out any of the foreign films us westerners get because they are usually the better films that make it over. Well that or those with the most marketing money behind them. Having said all that, I really do need to see more films from around the world and Rust and Bone reinforces this.
If I had two words to describe this move, it would be “raw emotion.” I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie that felt like an exposed nerve, and I say that in a good way. The performances of Schoenaerts and Cotillard are amazing, especially Cotillard as she navigates her character from one understanding of the world to another. I felt really swept up in their story, getting frustrated with their decisions, happy for their accomplishments and heart broken at their circumstances. The chemistry between them, naturally building as the movie progressed, was also fun to watch. The supporting cast, namely the young son and sister, were good additions, helping add to the gravity of certain situations and bringing the single dad back to reality in others.
Sorry if I’m being a bit vague around the tragedies and challenges faced in the movie. As always, I’m trying to be as anti-spoilery as possible.
I was also really impressed by the CGI. Usually when you use that term, you think of big, science-fictiony spectacles but it can be even more impressive when you don’t even notice it. There’s the example of the tragedy affecting Cotillard and a scene between her character and a killer whale that I’m still not sure is real or not. I did some Googling and I still don’t know.
The only real complaint I had with the movie was the ending. It’s not a bad one, it just felt a bit neat and tidy for a movie that showcases the chaos of life.
RUST AND BONE Rating:
4 stars – you’d recommend this. If you define a “good movie” by its ability to make you feel, this is a good movie. Writer/director Jacques Audiard has told an impactful story, with an amazing duo of actors. His previous movie, A PROPHET, has also gotten some good reviews. Guess I have to see that now too.
La Vie en Rose (2007) – Yes, you’re going to have to read if you see this movie too. Marion Cotillard announced herself to the world, and deservedly won the Academy Award, with this film, a biopic of Edith Piaf. Let’s just say she didn’t have an easy time of it.