Working in rehabilitation, this was a fitting movie to view after work with some colleagues. Pasta before the movie, armed with a choc top in hand… I knew this would be good.
Rust and Bone met my expectations – raw and emotional. And the special effects were phenomenal, as real as you can get. Marion Cotillard isn’t an amputee for those who are unfamiliar with her, that was some fancy green screen/socks cinematic magic happening…
This story followed Stephanie a whale trainer, who is involved in a tragic incident which results in her legs being amputated. Ali the male lead, comes into Stephanie’s life and in an unassuming manner (not out of pity) goes on her journey. Seamlessly, the storyline takes a turn when Stephanie goes on Ali’s journey, and it’s Ali who needs her.
There were a couple of emotionally-grappling scenes that stuck with me. The first being when Stephanie wakes up alone, in her hospital bed, orientates herself, shifts herself in bed to eventually find that she has no legs – what a nightmare that would be. How does one, as an actress, prepare and conjure up the true emotions/reactions to that? Cotillard does it convincingly. Another scene is when Stephanie, on the balcony of her wheelchair-accessible apartment from a still quiet moment, suddenly erupts into a frivolity of whale-training arm signals, that to me, was the moment that conveyed the beginnings of acceptance and hope. The scene when she’s with her friend, going through her wardrobe, tossing out footwear – this was a small but really important scene. The ice scene was completely predictable, but effective - you could hear exclamations coming from the audience.
What I think made this film work was the contrast between the two characters – an amputee and an aspiring professional boxer. I think it depicted the experience of disability (not that I can know first-hand, second-hand at best) - denial, adjustment, isolation, loneliness, displacement, perceived loneliness, hope, sexuality, acceptance.
Alas, the film ended happily. It could have been wrought with typical boy meets girl cheesiness and really predictable and unthoughtful storyline e.g. she could have been an athlete, athlete loses legs. But it was thoughtful, thought-provoking and symbolic. Great movie, see it. 4/5
Also a note on the music… Bon Iver featured, just say “Bon Iver” and tears well up. If you want your audience to cry, Bon Iver is your best bet yet.