My King (Mon Roi)

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Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Robin Clifford 
My King (Mon Roi)
Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Laura Clifford 

Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot) is on a skiing holiday. She heads down the slope going far faster than she should, has an accident and must undergo long and painful therapy. During her rehabilitation, she reflects back on her past, especially with Georgio (Vincent Cassel) a charming sociopath with whom she had a turbulent life in “My King.”

This fourth feature by the actress-turned-director/writer Maiwenn tells a story in two parts. One follows Tony post-accident as goes through the painful therapy to heal her shattered leg. While getting better, she begins to rebuild her life. Her reflections on her past – meeting Georgio, being romanced, falling in love, getting married and having a baby – are all chronicled in flashback.

The flashbacks make up the main part of “My King” and examine not just the idyllic relationship between Tony and Georgio, but his sociopathic behavior and how it eventually shatters that relationship. Vincent Cassel, always a favorite, exudes the charm and cunning of a pathological and self-centered liar. Emmanuelle Bercot gives nuance to her two-part performance as Tony. Louis Garrel, as Tony’s brother, Solal, and Isild Le Besco (Maiwenn”s sister), as his girlfriend Babeth, are more a Greek chorus for Tony than three-dimensional characters, but serve their roles well enough. I give it B+.

Cowriter (with Etienne Comar, "Of Gods and Men")/director Maïwenn's ("Polisse") latest begins with a woman, Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot, "Polisse"), in rehab after a devastating skiing accident.  Her therapist asks her to think about the possible metaphysical reason for her injury.  In flashback, Tony revisits her 10 year relationship with Georgio (Vincent Cassel, "Black Swan," "Tale of Tales") in "My King."

The closing night film of the 21st Boston French Film Festival ends with a similar theme to its opening night film, "Fatima," which also suggests a woman may have caused her own injury as a way of handling a stressful situation. When Tony first meets Georgio, he's passionately romantic.  The only early fly in the ointment is Agnès (Chrystèle Saint Louis Augustin), a woman who accuses Tony of having stolen her man.  But as the years pass we see that Georgio can be cold and manipulative, perhaps even sociopathic, especially as he devotes himself to Agnès's crisis during Tony's late pregnancy.  Bercot, who cowon Best Actress (with "Carol's" Rooney Mara) at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, takes an arduous emotional journey.  Cassel surely gave Vincent Lindon a run for his money for the Actor prize, never better as a man who can make a woman feel like she is his entire world, yet thrives on the adulation of many.  (The film also stars Maïwenn's elder sister, Isild Le Besco ("À Tout de Suite") and Louis Garrel ("Saint Laurent") as the couple's best friends.)  Maïwenn has become a powerful filmmaker.

Grade:  A-
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