Rust and Bone

Up until now I’ve not posted anything to mark a DVD/Bluray release but wanted to say something about the wonderful French-Belgian film De Rouille et D’os (Rust and Bone) that comes out on Monday.

In the simplest terms this is a love story but that isn’t really an accurate representation what the film is about. Events don’t necessarily play out as you would expect but this isn’t because it’s unconventional as much as it is because its realistic. Life isn’t predictable and neither is this film.

Alain and Stéphanie meet early on but it isn’t until her circumstances change quite dramatically that they start spending time together. There is no ‘meet cute’ moment, what we get is two troubled people who enjoy one another’s company and it is from this that their relationship slowly develops. This sounds like it might be dull but it is compelling and very moving.

There is another key aspect to the events that play out on the screen that I am deliberately not talking about because I think it is better to approach the film without full knowledge of what happens. What you do need to know is that at its core Rust and Bone is the story of two characters who come to need each other because when they are apart they are simply a lot worse off.

A criticism I often heard about both the book and the film version of David Nicholls’ One Day was that the male character Dexter was just too unlikeable. I think what they were trying to show in that story was how some people cannot be the best version of themselves without the love of the right person. This is a beautiful sentiment and one that is demonstrated far more effectively in Rust and Bone. Matthias Schoenaerts’ Alain is not an exaggerated caricature but a real person with immaturities and responsibility issues that will be all too familiar to many women watching the film. In turn Marion Cotillard’s Stéphanie is embittered by her unimaginable circumstances but while they are together they form a touching team.

Cotillard’s performance is extraordinary. She is one of those actors who is always watchable but given the right material can be mesmerising. I loved The Dark Knight Rises but unlike almost all of the other central cast members in that film Cotillard’s part could have been played just as effectively by a number of her contemporaries. She was stronger in Nolan’s masterpiece Inception and we saw a hint of her brilliance in Contagion and Public Enemies, but when acting in her first language, as she does in her Oscar winner La Vie En Rose and in this film, she is just transcendent.

Rust and Bone also features the most moving scene I saw in the cinema last year (pictured) and when you consider that these moments are played out to the music of Katy Perry you realise that this film must really be able to do something special.

Is this one for the kids?

No, this one is ours.

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