A major perk of the movies is the opportunity to meet individuals that under normal circumstances you would never encounter; such is the case in “Rust and Bone”. Two self-absorbed, struggling souls, meet in a club; “Stephanie”, (Marion Cotillard) trains orcas (killer whales; largest of the Dolphin family) and “Ali” (Matthias Schoenaerts) a bouncer, rescues her from an altercation resulting in one of the most unusual pairings in recent film.
A devastating accident unites these disparate characters, so strong are the performances that the plot never sinks to melodrama; circumstances destroy their myopic, entrenched megalomania; they are forced to reinvent themselves; recreate an altered world because the old is fractured beyond recognition, repair. Cotillard and Schoenaerts imbue their characters, flawed by life’s vicissitudes, with a richness and depth, riveting to watch; discovering inner resources, grit, to tackle and master daunting challenges. Instead of pity, dignity is their reward for besting monumental obstacles.
Ali has a son “Sam” (enchanting Armand Verdue) who adds beauty, grace and charm to the scenario; he is a five-year-old loveable angel, and the foil that alleviates the pain, poverty, adversity and ugliness of the seamy, fight-infested side of twenty-first century France. Achieving perfect symmetry “Rust and Bone” galvanizes the viewer with every magnificently- mastered scene.
Adversity can be a tool of destruction, bleakness, depression or the adrenalin to forge forward, spit in the face of unwanted havoc, delve into the bowels of one’s psyche, uncover the fortitude to thrive and survive. Stephanie and Ali succeed in championing the “rust and bone” of their existence, alleviating the ache of their plight, different, but rewarded for the struggle.
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!!!!