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Kings and Queen (2004)

Cast: Emmanuelle Devos, Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, more...
Director: Arnaud Desplechin, Arnaud Desplechin
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Fox Lorber
Genre: Foreign, France
Running Time: 150 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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The stories of two desperate characters turn out to share an important link in this drama from French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin. Nora (Emmanuelle Devos) is a woman in her mid-thirties who wants people to believe that her life is going just the way she wants. But a look below the surface shows this isn't quite the case; she's been divorced twice, her latest relationship is on the rocks, her ten-year-old son, Elias (Valentin Lelong), is becoming increasingly withdrawn, and her father (Maurice Garrel) is in poor health. When Nora learns that her father's digestive problems are actually cancer and he may only have a few days left to live, she desperately wants to turn to Ismael (Mathieu Amalric), her second husband. But Ismael is having a crisis of his own after a pattern of increasingly strange behavior has led him to an involuntary stay in a mental hospital. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Not Movie Royalty, but Worth Some Time by talltale December 4, 2005 - 1:45 PM PST
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful
I'm not an enormous fan of director/co-writer Arnaud Desplechin ("My Sex Life or How I Got into an Argument," 178 minutes; "La Sentinelle," 139 minutes) because the long length of his films never seem to provide commensurate reward. KINGS AND QUEEN (150 minutes) is more of the same, though perhaps the rewards are a bit greater here. I do enjoy Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos, not to mention Catherine Deneuve and other cast members, and there is much here to make one smile and occasionally wince in recognition.

But Desplechin is all over the place; he doesn't cohere. I don't mean in the manner that life does not cohere; the mess in these movies belongs to the writer/director. Most of the characters, no matter their age or sex, possess too much the same screwy--if interesting--view. And growth/change arrives oddly, to say the least: Ismael's screeching harangue in the beginning of the film bears little resemblance to the lovely speech directed to his "godson" at the end, unless he's been taking some "stabilization" drug of which we're unaware.

Still the good things do tally up, and I would never want to dissuade a movie-lover from trying an intelligent, problematic French concoction. Any movie that attempts to explore life, love, sex, parenting, career and hospitalization gets my vote--if not a top rating.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.26)
39 Votes
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