Film review: Raw emotions bubble up in 'Rust and Bone'

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Two broken people meet in "Rust and Bone," Jacques Audiard's brutally unromantic French romance.

Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a boxer who takes his young son away from Belgium to live in Antibes. There he meets and begins a romance with Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a killer-whale trainer. The relationship has barely gotten off the ground when Stephanie suffers a horrific accident, losing both her legs above the knee to an orca. From here, the film focuses on Stephanie's determination not to be pitied, as she becomes Ali's manager in a network of back-alley bare-knuckled fistfights.

Audiard (who directed the astonishing prison drama "A Prophet") employs some impressive computer effects to re-create Stephanie's disability (think Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump," but more realistic), while drawing fierce performances from Cotillard and Schoenaerts (who played the steroid-popping thug in last year's Oscar nominee "Bullhead"). The plot goes in some stunning and not always coherent directions, but the emotions are raw and striking.; —


'Rust and Bone'

Opens Friday, Feb. 1, at the Broadway Centre Cinema; rated R for strong sexual content, brief graphic nudity, some violence and language; in French with subtitles; 120 minutes.