This award winning, intense debut from French writer director Alix Delaporte, takes you on a journey of frustrated emotions, trust and hopefulness in adversity. Think Taming of the Shrew meets I’ve Loved You So Long.
The synopsis – Angel (Clotilde Hesme) is a stunning ex-con currently on probation and looking for a new life, Tony (Gregory Gadebois) is a homely fisherman living in solitude with his family who have suffered a recent bereavement. The two meet through a personal ad in the paper, Tony wants a wife whereas Angel seems very direct and thinks that sex will get her what she thinks she needs (which is very obvious from the opening scene, where she has sex with a young man to get a toy for her son!).
Angel wants to get custody of her son and feels that a desperate attempt at marriage might allow her to get access. The rest of the film involves the journey the two take on, with Tony still living in solitude hopeful that something may happen, but who seems to accept his lot, whilst the obviously broken and secretive Angel has to come to terms with her past and make amends with her family before she can adjust to a new life.
The film centres around the journey these two embark on, with added pressures from both their families. Will it end in tragedy? Will Angel be able to get over her past? Will Angel fall for Tony’s more attractive brother? Will they get together in the end?
All of this is set in the local fishing village where Tony takes on Angel as his assistant, and introduces her to local life as well as teaching her everything from gutting fish to handling crabs.
Clotilde gives a very edgy, fractured performance as the broken (fallen) Angel, which is mesmerising to watch. She appears shifty throughout the film, always on the edge of society, scared to trust. Some of the most effective scenes are the switches of very dark night scenes at sea to bright daylight back in the village the next morning, and the most rewarding are where she is riding through the Normandy countryside on her stolen bike. As the camera zooms into her face, you can see and feel the tension and angst in every facial expression.
Overall Verdict: The film is by no means perfect, some scenes are not really required, but in summary, an interesting character study of troubled people looking for a connection, which many of us could relate to. Highlights of the film for me were the performances of the two leads and the final shot of the movie.
Reviewer: Stephen Sclater