Mon Roi

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May 19-Jul 19

How to make a captivating film about a simple love story in 2016? And how to restore romance’s credentials after so many sappy romcoms without giving it too pretentious and intellectual an edge? Apparently, the solution is simple. Take one fiesty filmmaker, Maïwenn, and pair her with a couple of free radicals, namely Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel, and viola!

Entered into Cannes last year, where Bercot deservedly won best actress, Mon Roi has a simple story. Tony (Bercot), victim of a serious skiing accident, begins her rehabilitation in a specialised centre and looks back on her relationship with ex-husband Georgio (Cassel). In 10 years, they fell in love, hated each other, married and separated.

Though at first glance the scenario seems trivial, Mon Roi is distinguished by its power and intensity. The sublime interpretation of Tony and Georgio’s love bursts across the screen, almost overwhelming the supporting cast. Maïwenn perfectly communicates to us those common feelings, even the ones that are sometimes inexplicable and irrational, that affect us when it comes to our beloved.

It’s not entirely perfect. Mon Roi sometimes delves too deeply into the minutiae of its characters’ lives, wanting to show everything, which makes the film unnecessarily long. While the reminiscences engage, the present, with Tony regaining use of her leg, is less engrossing. The simplicity of the script, too, is as much a part of the film’s charm as a defect. Nonetheless, compared to serious cinema that can too often be over-intellectualised, director Maïwenn brings a freshness and intensity rarely found in similar movies. Matthieu Petit

Dir Maïwenn 130 mins, opens Thu May 19


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