Film Review: ‘Mon Roi’

We saw the press screening of MON ROI in NYC, starring Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel. Read our review here!

MON ROI is a everything we may have expected from director and cowriter Maïwenn. Otherwise known as My King, we could almost immediately draw parallels from this film and connect it with Woody Allen’s emotionally stunning and uniquely plot-motivated, character-driven Blue Jasmine (2013). I wish to credit this connection with the striking acting capabilities of Emmanuelle Bercot, opposite of Cate Blanchett, but it’s far more than that- perhaps “parallel” isn’t the right word . MON ROI feels like a story being told within Allen’s universe of worldly, absent-minded lovers with money coming in from every direction, playing a perpetual game of emotional (see: occasionally drug-induced) tug-of-war. It’s having seen Allen’s Blue Jasmine that the story of MON ROI seems remotely plausible, the lofty existences of these people with too much time on their hands, running around France as adults in clubs… it’s all very engaging because it’s a story not many know too well, by virtue of society’s organization.

MON ROI recounts a story of a lawyer who is involved in a dramatic but non-life threatening skiing injury. Her time spent in a decidedly upscale seafront rehab facility gains her a new group of friends and plenty of time to think about her George (Vincent Cassel), her ex husband, a wild, idealistic chef, and socialite, jetting around with his independently wealthy group of friends. His whirlwind element of captivity and skill of seduction captures the interest of Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot) time and time again, despite the fact he hurts her repeatedly, unable to let go of his past, unable to identify a clear future.

His pull is so strong they go as far as to get divorce, only to find themselves in bed and apparently in love again the same day. Further complication is introduced with the child, one who was of conflict from the very moments of the naming.

Here we realize a broader issue of this couple, and of modern couples all over the world: the pleasure and addiction of possibility. The non commitment, the absence of predictability. In this way, fantasy is preserved and seduction is not limited to a single engagement, instead it can happen over and over. While the two descend into worsening situations, it becomes clear the child provides her with a sense of confidence and certainty in her self. Even for him, moments to show love for both her and the child, despite technical separation isn’t an assault on legal design, rather the fact that divorce is only a legal mechanism until it isn’t: towards the end of the film, it comes clear that just like the women before her, for him, she is slipping away, no longer a target, but a (forgive me) slain subject of his interest.

MON ROI is well written with French humor coming in at high volume, a cast that is modern, sensitive, engaging, and critical. Mentioned once already, Emmanuelle Bercot’s performance is positively stunning, her range is striking, from giddy excitement to deep mental struggle, to drunken rage (rightly acknowledged at Cannes Film Festival: she won Best Actress). She is also a decent comedienne, hitting timing perfectly, often giving a look of incredulous “I’m-calling-bullshit” to everything her partner says, even in moments of earnest communication on his part. Her micro movements and control of expression seals the deal.

The film hits theaters this Friday.

View the MON ROI trailer here:

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