My number 17 film of 2012 offers surprising and unexpected twists of a “chance encounter” story, while Marion Cotillard delivers the best female lead performance of the year.
17. “Rust and Bone” - No matter how much we attempt to map out our lives, life finds ways to throw us abrupt and unexpected turns which take us off our presumed paths.
Change can certainly feel exciting, bright and new, but unwanted course corrections garner just the opposite.
Loss, anxiety, fear, and hopelessness can just as easily creep into and fill the heart.
For Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard), she soon discovers the latter all too well.
A 30-something brunette beauty, Stéphanie works as a killer whale trainer at a well-produced animal show, but drinking, dancing and meeting other men until well after midnight provide a much needed reprieve from her disconnected relationship with her live-in boyfriend.
Her life remains far from perfect, but at least Stéphanie knows what tomorrow will bring.
Predictably, all of us don’t exactly know what tomorrow will bring, and without any warning, Stéphanie becomes a victim of a horrific accident.
Devastated, shattered and alone, she turns to an unlikely source for comfort, a bouncer named Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts).
“Rust and Bone” is a story about the connection of two people, and although thousands of films have told this familiar tale, director/co-writer Jacques Audiard brings a unique vision with not only Stéphanie’s tragic loss, but with a weaving plot.
Like life, this film winds through unexpected directions.
Some of Audiard’s decisions feel a little forced and stagy, but the movie’s surprises and Cotillard’s and Schoenaerts’s outstanding performances make this film a most memorable experience.
Cotillard, in particular, is nothing short of sensational here.
She delivers a gutsy and layered performance and gives Stéphanie a balance between turmoil, doubt, but also carnal needs of the human condition.
Stéphanie is a fighter, but never knew it until her reality of ordinary daily routines became memories of the past.
With all due respect to the five Best Actress Oscar nominees (Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Naomi Watts), Marion Cotillard gave the best lead female performance of 2012.
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