Review: Mal de pierres (2016)

Mal de pierres (2016)

Directed by: Nicole Garcia | 120 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Marion Cotillard, Louis Garrel, Alex Brendemühl, Brigitte Roüan, Victoire Du Bois, Aloïse Sauvage, Daniel Para, Jihwan Kim, Victor Quilichini, Ange Black-Bereyziat, Sören Rochefort, Camilo Acosta Mendoza, Francisco Alfonsin, Julio Bollullo Carasco

Bovarysme, they call it in France, when a character shows an interest bordering on mental illness for passionate extremes. The undersigned often thinks that this is bathing: what is wrong with illusions, especially those of love? If film offers comfort, why shouldn’t love be able to?

The Provençal Gabrielle (Marion Cotillard) is practically married off by her mother to a sullen Catalan (Alex Brendemühl), after in an earlier scene she has languished in a river without underwear and a librarian who did not want to accept her physical advances and has publicly humiliated. This bipolar surrogate Emma could use a little stability, but beautiful filmmaker Nicole Garcia walks a curious path between pathology and recognisability, between realism and emotional credibility.

Reliable topper As the center of action, Cotillard is a wax figure on which the viewer can project fantasies. A mixed feeling, because no task and at the same time gratuitous. Like the romantic love in real life maybe? No, there are much more beautiful love stories in it than that of Gabrielle and her soldier (Louis Garrel), half delusional and completely predictable. The film reality of ‘Mal de pierres’ (the illegitimate lovers have kidney ailments and were hospitalized for that) seems to have sprung from a Bovary groupie with anemia. Brendemühl’s acting is more noticeable than Cotillard’s, but his character is flat, as is that of the pained frowning Garrel. This acting trio drags itself through the act, which ends unsatisfactorily (advertising for holiday homes?). However, romantic love does not drag itself through life, but floats above it – until it lands hard but surely.

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