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From Cannes: "Mon roi" Melodramatic but Successful

Dir. Maïwenn (Dist. TBA)—4 Stars

By Alan R. Xie, Crimson Staff Writer

Focusing on the troubled marriage between an uptight lawyer and a lovable cad, "Mon Roi" tells a rather common and clichéd love story in French cinema, rooted in the deep-seated conflict between these two stock character types. Although at times overwrought with melodrama, the film ultimately presents a moving portrait of a relationship through strong performances by its two leads, Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Bercot (the latter's film "La Tête Haute" also opened Cannes this year).

The story is presented from the perspective of Tony (Bercot) as she undergoes physical therapy after a skiing accident. We're introduced to a physically and emotionally broken character several years after the conclusion of her taxing relationship with Georgio (Cassel)—and as her therapist dubiously puts it, her physical healing process is likely to spur some level of emotional catharsis as well. Cue flashbacks.

Despite the initial weakness of this narrative device, the scenes from her past relationship are wonderfully written. From Tony and Georgio's first meeting in a nightclub to their eventual child and marriage, director and co-writer Maïwenn lulls the viewer into a trance with the unabashed optimism of the first act. Cassel and Bercot have a wonderful chemistry during these charming first scenes—but it is during the later erosion of their marriage that their dramatic skill truly shines.

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