Rust and Bone

In what was apparently the US premiere of French film Rust and Bone, the Virginia Film Festival brought in a strong crowd. In a role that has a good shot to lead to an Oscar nomination for Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Contagion), Stephanie suffers a major accident working with killer whales that leaves her without her legs and without much will to live. At the same time, Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) is fighting to support himself and his five-year-old son Sam after he and Sam’s mother break up. Both in very difficult moments in their lives, Stephanie and Ali work symbiotically off of each other to move along and find purpose. Jacques Audiard made an amazing film that truly takes the time to study the characters, their environment, and their lives. He allows his leads to pull through not just for the sake of the audience but because they actually find a way. He takes Stephanie from having control to being naked on the ground, and he portrays Ali as the continually faulty father, brother, and friend. I would highly recommend this movie, as it takes this gray and depressing world of the characters and works their stories into hope. 5/5 stars. – Annie Wilmer

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