This ain’t gonna be a long one.
I don’t have too much to say about From the Land of the Moon aside from how boring it is. Like, it’s real dull. Marion Cotillard is too wilful a child, ‘Or maybe,’ her parents think, ‘there’s something wrong with her.’ They marry her off to José (Àlex Brendemühl) a Veteran of the Spanish civil war. There is no love to be had in their marriage. Later in their lives, finding her to be unable to conceive, he sends her to a health spa where she meets and falls in love with André (Louis Garrel) a French Veteran of the Indochina war.
The rest of the film is her juggling her emotions for these two men, trying her best to live the best life possible. I get that the film’s probably trying to deal with the nature of unfulfilled longing and the bleakness of the world. Maybe you got some claim to that, this is until the twist at the end, which is so stupid and undermines every point I thought it was going for. It’s not even that the film don’t prepare you for a twist, it’s that it’s the worst, it involves so many characters acting so incomprehensibly that, just, like, what..?
I’m sure Cotillard is very good, she tends to be. Brendemühl is this dignified sad-sack who don’t really get anything in the script to demonstrate his nobility or dignity. Aside from when his new wife declines to sleep with him, so he nobly visits prostitutes. At her discovery of this, she asks what he’s paying and agrees to a liaison for the same wage. A remnant for the hot moment at the beginning of the film when you think it might be about sex. It stops being that after the first fifteen.
Garrel, for his part, arriving far too late into the picture, sighs a lot and lets the makeup do most of the work as he lies in bed dying of whatever condition he’s been sent to the Alps for. The nothing notable here, they all comport themselves and let nothing give until it’s time for that one scene each in which they get to break down. Dudes do it violently, Cotillard cries and runs into the sea.
It’s possible I could be more sympathetic towards her if the film gave any clue of their internal lives. We know she’s unfulfilled, but we aren’t given a glimpse at exactly what she is finding unfulfilling. Despite her being centred in this way she seemingly has no life, no definition outside of these two dudes, later she get a son too. There’s a sense of life brought to her when she befriend a housekeeper at the spa. For the first time she’s actually taking, actually discussing her life and her woes with another human being in a healthy manner. Don’t last long before that falls into boy drama too.
Honestly, if I had the choice I’d stay a week at the Cure for Wellness spa instead. At least something interesting is guaranteed to happen.
From the Land of the Moon is currently screening in UK cinemas
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