If I told you of a film where the lead character loses her legs in a bizarre accident involving a killer whale and is befriended by a bare knuckle boxer with a 5 year old son who learns the importance of a tenderness and love through his crippled lover, you might want to reach for a sick bucket.
Yet somehow the potentially schlocky romance at the heart of ‘Rust & Bone’ works beautifully. Jacques Audiard, the man responsible for two of my favorite films of the last decade, ‘The Beat my Heart Skipped’ and ‘A Prophet’ directed it.
Audiard has cast superbly with Marion Cotillard as the legless lover and Matthias Schoenearts as her boxing beau.
Cotillard resists the temptation to overact and instead conveys worlds simply with her gaze, while Schoenaerts is utterly convincing as an uneducated violent man who learns importance of love.
Interestingly Audiard actually adapted this film from a collection of short stories by Canadian author Craig Jackson, taking bits from various tales and melding them to create a world that is wholly his own.
It’s a place where men are men, which without women, is a huge problem for them and everybody else.
It’s often been said that ‘Hell is other People’ but in Rust & Bone’ redemption is other people.
Only through a significant other can we begin to be whole and understand our flawed view of the world.
In short, the message of ‘Rust & Bone’ is that the world may hurt but people can heal.