Rust and Bone,(French, subtitled film), directed by Jacques Audiard starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenearts.
Plot: A woman gets hurt at work, and a man who she met in a brief encounter ends up in her life. This is straightforward, but threaded, woven, and stitched into this seemingly simple plot are narratives that intersect. Not necessarily 'deep' narratives, but stories that are significant enough to affect both 'man' and 'woman'.
Playing 'Man' and 'Woman' are Matthias Schoenearts (Ali), and Marion Cotillard (Stephanie). Our protagonist is deep and troubled, but also has the capacity for beauty and strength. Matching our protagonist is the heroine: Cotillard. Some have argued her performance eclipses Schoenearts', but that's a little one sighted in my book. Our leading actors paint the story of Craig Davidson's book (De rouille et d'os), their chemistry on screen bewitching. The supporting acts, such as Corrine Masiero's performance are also sensational. Schoenearts' performance is an example of French acting at it's best: easy, and natural, but cool and affecting.
The storyline creeps up on you, and boy does it take you by surprise. You're suddenly hit by a wave of unexpected emotion that pulls not at your heart strings, but at your stomach. Your mind begins to stir so unexpectedly mainly because the film appears so disjointed, and you're waiting to connect the dots, or for some indication of a theme; because this fails to come you're searching for something to hold onto; because of the seamlessness of the plot, when the emotion arrives, it is breathtaking.
Rust and Bone works so well because Audiard hasn't tried to exaggerrate, or exceed expectations, he has adapted the book to create a film that can be appreciated on its every merit: cinematography, screenplay, plot, and narrative. It may be termed as an 'arthouse' film, but it is arguably a romantic thriller that attracts the art house audience.
The screenplay is cinema at it's best. You forget you're watching a film, and you're pulled into other people's lives. This is what film should do: allow the audience to sit back and get lost in the narrative. Rust and Bone is the reason why cinema's are open, why we pay admission, and why we fall for leading ladies. This is great cinema, this is Rust and Bone.