French Film, Rust and Bone, in Austin at the Arbor Theater

still of both

By Liz Lopez

Rating A

Marion Cotillard is one of my favorite actresses and one I have been impressed with since I viewed her performance in La vie en rose (2007) where she portrays Edith Piaf. She has since performed in many other roles in the last six years that are impressive, but the turn in Rust and Bone as Stéphanie, a Marineland trainer, is one that is award winning in my opinion. In fact, she was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, alongside Jessica Chastain who won the award. Director Jacques Audiard (The Prophet) did an excellent job in casting Cotillard alongside Matthias Schoenaerts, as Ali, who I immediately recognized from his fabulous performance (and very fit body) in the award winning foreign film, Bullhead. Both of the characters have their own challenges in life and although they do not click when they initially meet, they both end up helping each other in unexpected ways.

This film runs for 120 minutes, yet there is nothing in the film that will make the viewer look at the clock as they remain engaged with each character’s lives, individually and together, as they rise above the challenges, physically, emotionally and financially. Staying engaged with the story is one thing, yet although watching some of the violent and bloody scenes is not pleasant, they are effective in conveying what each one of them endures. The film is not only rated R for these scenes, but there is strong sexual content and brief graphic nudity.

Ali (Schoenaerts) has a five-year-old child, Sam (Armand Verdure), yet he hardly knows him. He becomes the sole caretaker at a time he is homeless and without support from anyone. Reluctantly, his sister Anna (Corinne Masiero) takes them in for the child’s sake, principally. His physicality enables him to land a job as a bouncer in a nightclub in order to provide for his son. He comes to Stéphanie’s aid one evening and although she is otherwise involved, she accepts his phone number. After tragedy strikes her, completely changing her world, she seeks Ali and the impact they have on each other is a story that should not be missed.

Rust and Bone arrives in Austin on January 18th at the Regal Arbor. It is totally worth the drive if you are not an Austin resident, or live near the theater, no matter that it does have sub-titles.

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