Rust and Bones (Jacques Audiard, 2012): France

Reviewed by Jeffrey J. Englert. Viewed at AFI Fest Nov. 5th, 2012.

Throughout the film Rust and Bones the audience is taken through two stories: one, a past fighter, now Dad who tries to deal with the reality of having a son with no fiscal security. Another, a young female who is played by Marion Cotillard, who looses her legs in a tragic accident and connects with the struggling past fighter, now Dad –known as Ali and played by Matthias Schoenaerts.

First, the audience sees Ali and his son, traveling homeless throughout the streets. With dialog lines that go un-answered like “I’m hungry”, the audience quickly finds the two to be in a bad situation with little money.  Saved by Ali’s sister, she takes them into their household and watches over Ali’s child while he begins to have a new start, with a new job. This is when Ali meets Stephanie, who was being beat up at a nightclub Ali worked at.

From this point on, the audience sees how Ali continues to treat Stephanie as a normal individual, even after she looses her legs, and thus – the two begin a relationship.

This film does a marvelous job at showing the struggles of a Ali, a single parent in a tough situation, where he never really had the time to grow up on his own, as well. This creates a sharp contrast between Ali’s life at home as a father and life on the streets as a fighter.

All in all, the story was a moving tale because everything Ali worked for as a boxer, he had to sacrifice to save his son, while also capturing a deep characterization of Ali, and the man he really was.

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