MY KING (MON ROI) (2016)
Starring Emmanuelle Bercot, Vincent Cassel, Louis Garrel, Isild Le Besco, Chrystele Saint-Louis Augustin, Patrick Raynal, Paul Hamy, Yann Goven, Djemel Barek, Marie Guillard, Slim El Hedli, Nabil Kechouhen, Norman Thavaud, Amanda Added and Abdelghani Addala.
Screenplay by Maïwenn and Etienne Comar.
Directed by Maïwenn.
Distributed by Film Movement. 124 minutes. Not Rated.
One of the sad ironies of life is that just because two people are completely in love with each other, it does not mean that they are good fit for each other. In fact, sometimes the two people in love can be the absolute worst thing for each other, no matter how much passion they may inspire.
My King (Mon Roi) the fourth film by French-actress-turned-director Maïwenn, studies this dilemma with heartbreaking clarity. Reminiscent of the great divorce films of the 1970s – such as An Unmarried Woman, or Scenes From a Marriage, or Kramer vs. Kramer, or A Woman Under the Influence – it takes a hard look at romance and passion and recognizes that it is not always enough to make a relationship work.
Emmanuelle Bercot centers the film with a sweet and heart-breaking performance as Tony, a lawyer whose marriage and divorce leaves mental and physical scars. The film starts with a scene in which Tony is skiing with her son. She is obviously distraught and seems to be a bit out of control. The camera cuts away before the inevitable crash, and next we see of her she is in a hospital, unable to walk with a torn ACL. Her doctor empathetically accuses her of perhaps wanting to crash.
From here the film flashes forwards and backwards; showing her working at a physical therapy home to learn to walk again, as well as come to terms with her life. The rest of the film is made up of flashbacks covering over a decade of her life, and mostly revolving around her turbulent relationship with Georgio (Vincent Cassel) – the one true love of her life, but also a man who drives her more than a little crazy.
In a flashback Tony and Georgio meet (well, officially), when she playfully throws water on him at a bar while they both are on vacation. She had seen him years before when she worked as a barmaid, he has little memory of her, but they start to talk and a spark is lit. Things seem perfect at first, and they quickly marry and have a son. However, Tony can’t ignore the little cracks that start to pop up.
In the meantime, her friends, coworkers and especially her loving brother (Louis Garrel) quickly come to realize that the relationship is turning toxic. Tony and Georgio may be passionate for each other, but they also know how to push each other’s buttons, which they do with passive-aggressive regularity. Georgio has a wandering eye, Tony has trust issues, fights become more regular, and suddenly they are just going through the motions. They get a divorce but never quite let go.
It is only in physical therapy that Tony is finally able to come to terms with her life and her relationship. While she relearns how to walk she also relearns how to live. It’s a difficult, arduous process, but through new friends she finally is able to return to happiness.
My King is beautiful, maddening, sexy, horrifying, sweet, angry, resigned, passionate, obsessive, uplifting, devastating and mostly very messy. Just like love.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2016 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 25, 2016.