If someone had told me six months ago that I would see more than one French subtitled film this year which would move me, I would ask you to kindly ‘faire du jogging sur’. Rust and Bone will not only make you feel every emotion known to man but will help you do so in a completely human way.
With single tears collecting in Stéphanie’s (Marion Cotillard) eyes, it is a far cry (excuse the pun) from the dramatic wailing we see in many Hollywood productions. But yet, I felt her pain more than I have with any other character. Throughout the story, we follow Alain van Versch (Matthias Schoenaerts) as he struggles to make ends meet to support himself and his five year old son, Sam, played brilliantly by Armand Verdure.
Rust and Bone is filmed in such a way that you feel you are watching it outside your window, not on a cinema screen. The emotions are raw, the tears are real and the close up shots are intense. It has certainly been a long time since I have felt excited by fight scenes then immediately humbled by an act of love. More than once, albeit in a cinema filled with women avec le vin, I heard gasps, cries and whoops from my fellow viewers as they were thrown from one feeling to the next.
Spoiler alert! (Look away now if you don’t want to find out about the bit with an accident which causes her to lose her legs) Ooops.
Through a horrific accident including a skidding Killer Whale, which is guaranteed to make you cry with shock, Stéphanie loses her lower legs and her world falls apart alongside Alain, who turns to street fighting to pay his way.
What happens next is a love story in its purest form. There are no flashy dates and cheesy lines. Our leading actor doesn’t have a ripped body and shiny ‘because I’m worth it’ locks and our leading lady, with disarming beauty, doesn’t even look like she’s wearing make up most of the time. They are two normal people who find love and compassion despite a series of life changing events.
What attracted me to watch Rust and Bone was the promise of whales (I’m a bit of a whale geek) and a love story between two people from different sides of the track. What I watched was a film so beautifully made that it has not only encouraged me to live life like everything could change tomorrow but also to continue on my journey to one day make films that offer people an insight into parts of their world they didn’t even know existed.
Vive la France!