Kings & Queen
Nora Cotterelle, a woman in her 30s is caring for her ill father, Louis Jenssens. While Nora tries to present a facade that all is well with her life, she is twice divorced and has a son, Elias, whose father is dead. Nora's present relationship is not going well, and she is soon to marry a businessman, while Elias is becoming increasingly withdrawn. A parallel storyline follows her former lover and second husband, Ismaël Vuillard, a musician, with whom she had lived for seven years. He is given to strange behaviour, and as a result he has been committed to a mental hospital, from which he is planning to escape. Nora learns that her father's digestive problems are actually cancer, and facing her father's death, Nora desperately seeks out Ismaël to ask that he reconnect with Elias, but he has mixed feelings about adopting her son. Moreover, he has met Arielle, another patient.
French drama/comedy told in parallel storylines of two people who were once a couple coming to grips with their dysfunctions. Great acting & interesting characters.
Brilliantly viewfinding moments where characters are lying to the audience about events, wonderfully stating the inconclusive details behind Mathieu Amalric's stay at a mental institution after removing him, forceably, from his apartment with the same guffaw of aplomb as a later debate whether to split an inheritance with an adopted family member - - these are some of the great things Desplachin is working on in Kings and Queen, an interlocking narrative figure-eighting the Sirk-laden adventures of a woman coping with her father's deteriorating health and the aforementioned farce in the looney bin. Trouble is, both of them, on their own, aren't very substantial. In fact, Emmanuelle Devos gives such an atrocious performance - lip smacking every moment into a…
4.5 out of 5 (A-)
Kings & Queen is the first film I've seen from writer/director Arnaud Desplechin, but I can already tell that he is a master director and, perhaps even moreso, a master storyteller. This is a film filled with an ensemble of highly complex, emotional, tragic, comedic, realistic, compelling and human characters. As an outsider into the universe that Desplechin creates these people seem normal in most ways, but what makes them so real is that in each character's head they are the focal point of their universe. Which is an obvious thing to say since that's true about every human being, but it's rarely demonstrated in films. Most films feel like they are their own universe and the characters are just people…