Mon Roi

Review by Adam Woodward @AWLies

Directed by

Maïwenn

Starring

Emmanuelle Bercot Louis Garrel Vincent Cassel

Anticipation.

Maïwenn’s child sex abuse drama, Polisse, was not great.

Enjoyment.

Lays it on a bit thick but there’s plenty to like.

In Retrospect.

But not that much…

Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel tear each other apart in this so-so relationship drama.

When you think about it, break ups are a lot like recovering from a cruciate ligament knee injury. In both instances, the process can be a long and painful one, but in the end you emerge stronger than before. This clumsily constructed analogy forms the basis of Mon Roi, the fourth feature from mono-monikered French actress and sometime director, Maïwenn.

Emmanuelle Bercot stars as Tony, a criminal lawyer thrown into a state of midlife torpor after a nasty skiing accident. Before she has a chance to settle into her new surroundings at a physical rehabilitation clinic, her therapist seamlessly cues up a series of flashbacks by probing as to whether something other than fate might have contributed to her taking a tumble. The catalyst for Tony’s unrest is revealed in the form of playboy restaurateur Giorgio (Vincent Cassel), who first caught her eye at a discotheque 10 years prior.

Arrogant, dangerously charming and also kind of a jerk, Giorgio sweeps Tony off her feet. As the weeks and months pass, Tony and Giorgio slowly come to the realisation they are far from a perfect fit. Indeed, they destroy one another. As a filmmaker, Maïwenn is fascinated with relationships and how our insecurities often sour the bonds we form – be it an ethical dilemma as in Polisse, or, in this case, the apparently common female concern of having a loose vagina.

Mon Roi certainly has its moments – at times it is extremely funny, at others surprisingly affecting – but its ideas about the minutiae of adult relationships are grounded more in pop psychology than proper semiotic insight. We’re repeatedly told that marriage is tough, especially when you throw a kid into the equation; that people don’t change (especially men, the adulterous swines); that love doesn’t always conquer all. Even if there is a fair amount of truth to all this, Mon Roi has nothing new to say.

At one point, Giorgio likens something Tony says about their relationship to a line from a Phil Collins song. On that note, one track sums up our thoughts on not just said relationship but the entire film: ‘I Don’t Care Anymore.’

Published 27 May 2016

Tags: French Cinema

Anticipation.

Maïwenn’s child sex abuse drama, Polisse, was not great.

Enjoyment.

Lays it on a bit thick but there’s plenty to like.

In Retrospect.

But not that much…

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