Cast: Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Bercot, Louis Garrel and Isild Le Besco
Running Time: 128 minutes
Release Date: May 27th
The majority of films that centre around a relationship tend to focus on the dizzying high that is its beginning. At the end of these films, these couples, more often than not are young and beautiful, have declared their undying love for each and set off on their new journey together. It’s romantic but there is always a sense of uncertainty to this, in that it takes for granted that everything between them is going to be absolutely brilliant and fabulous. Of course these are just conventions in the genre but when a film comes out that takes a serious look at a relationship, one that focuses on the pains as well as the joys, then it should be welcomed. Writer/director Maïwenn’s forth feature Mon Roi is one that deserves no such welcome, with characters so grating that I wouldn’t want them on my street let alone near my house.
After suffering a serious knee injury after a skiing accident, Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot) begins to reminisce on the ten-year relationship she had with her ex-husband Georgio (Vincent Cassel) while recuperating in a rehabilitation centre. After meeting in a nightclub, Tony and Georgio start on a whirlwind romance that begins with the two of them having sex on the bed, on a kitchen counter — if only they did in the shower they could have recreated the chorus of Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me — that soon has them married with a child on the way.
But there is trouble afoot, when it dawns on Tony that Georgio is not charming but actually a drug taking, womanising, irresponsible cad. Despite this, Tony can’t bring herself to leave him. At the same time, I can’t bring myself to care.
In the interest of fairness, I should note that Mon Roi starts off on a somewhat promising note, or at least an interesting one, as we witness Tony and Georgio’s first encounters and Maïwenn does a decent job at conveying the joy and anticipation of a new romance. It becomes quite apparent rather quickly that the characters of Tony and Georgio are both shallowly conceived, right down to their occupations; he being a restaurateur in that he owns a restaurant and walks around in it, while she is lawyer whose her sole courtroom appearance, which consists of delivering a vague speech suggests that Maïwenn hasn’t even driven past a courtroom let alone been in one.
The problems with the characters can be blamed mostly on the script, however the actors must take the share as well. As Georgio, Cassel is initially charming, but before long his overacting indulgences start to irritate to the point where it becomes a mystery why anyone would spend five minutes with the guy, let alone ten years. Bercot fairs a lot better and at multiple times manages to rise above the mediocrity of the script and deliver a believable and compelling performance. Unfortunately they are just too many moments where overacting takes over, most notable in a scene where she vents her frustration by shouting in the rain, a moment so naff and unnecessary that it almost undoes the perception of her performance up till that point.
Mon Roi wishes to explore the reality of many relationships and the effects they have on someone after they fall apart, but in truth all it explored over the course of 130 minute running time is the levels of my patience of having to spend time such narcissistic and shallow people.