Rust and Bone

Diving Belle


21 November 2012| No Comments on Rust and Bone     by Sean Chavel


Downbeat love story with an uneasy mix between a bare-knuckle fighter and a once beauty becoming a paraplegic. Rust and Bone (French, in English subtitles) is nevertheless a potent work by a director who merits attention, that of Jacques Audiard (“Read My Lips,” “A Prophet”). The two leads, Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard, are both exceptional but guess who our eyes gravitate towards? Yes Cotillard, whom here plays an orca whale trainer who survives an accident during a live audience performance. Her Stephanie character is a portrayal of abundant beauty now clipped, thus, learning to live again confidently after her accident. We admire Cotillard’s (who we know from “Inception,” “Public Enemies”) inhabitation of her character.

She deserves a lot better than the selfishness of Schoenaerts’ character Ali, a man who is blasé about every activity (including sex), except for mixed martial arts which he takes on with great zeal. When we first meet him, he is trying to get across country with his young adolescent son by means of shoplifting, and eating garbage. No fear, he knows how to land a job quickly (nightclub bouncer, security guard, etc.), although his flakiness is ubiquitous.

Ali does Stephanie’s ego good by treating her like any other babe, up until, she realizes she is just another babe in his eyes. Maybe there is something more there, but Ali has some growing up to do. No doubt, this is a naturalistic character study without the warts of clichéd storytelling. But we don’t take anything away from the ending, and it sits in our memories a little fuzzy. Ali grows up, a little. Stephanie rebuilds her life, her ego boosted perhaps by becoming the boss of Ali. We imagine this abstractly, without totally seeing it as witnesses of them.

Not much to totally love here, but “Rust and Bone” has a blunt truth to it. Watch it because – can I stress it again? – you think Cotillard is stunning at everything she does.

118 Minutes. Rated R. French in English subtitles.


Film Cousins: “Read My Lips” (2001, France); “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” (2005, France); “A Prophet” (2009, France); “Warrior” (2011).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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