Film Review: Angèle & Tony (2011)

| 7 March , 2011 | Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Directed and written by: Alix Delaporte
Starring: Clotilde Hesme, Gregory Gadebois, Evelyne Didi, Jerome Huguet

Set in a Normandy fishing village, this French indie film tells the tale of an unconventional love story between Angèle (Hesme)—a coarse young woman with a troubled past who clearly carries heavy emotional baggage—and the no-nonsense fisherman Tony (Gregory Gadebois), who reveals a surprisingly sensitive nature beneath his gruff exterior.

When we first encounter Angèle, she is unceremoniously exchanging sexual favours for an action figure, intended as a gift for her son, Yohan, whom Angèle has not seen in two years. We discover that Angèle has been in prison, and we realise rather swiftly that Angèle – played beautifully by Clothilde Hesme with a gawky, intense volatility that deftly invites sympathy – has a number of deeply rooted issues.

Angèle meets Tony for the first time in a cafe, as they have arranged to meet through a personal ad. This first meeting does not go as planned – however, they later meet again. Angèle realises that to in order escape her parole hostel, and later to get back custody of her son who is living with her in-laws, she has to prove to the authorities she can rebuild a stable personal and working life. She accepts Tony\’s offer of a job to work alongside his strong-willed and prickly mother, Myriam (Evelyne Didi), selling Tony\’s catch of fish at a quayside stall.

As we follow how Angèle\’s and Tony\’s lives begin to intertwine, this seemingly odd couple begins to develop a precarious and unexpectedly intriguing relationship and connection. As Angèle strives to rebuild her life almost despite herself, we find ourselves caught up in the family relationships and small community dramas that take place in a small fishing village on the Normandy coast.

Screened at the International Critics’ Week at the Venice Film Festival 2010, this is a low-key film by first-time director Alix Delaporte that comes to a satisfyingly subtle simmer, based on the wonderfully nuanced performances by the lead actors, as Deleporte skillfully explores the bond that grows between two apparently very disparate people.

If you\’ve temporarily overdosed on stereotypical Hollywood characters or if you just like exploring organically crafted art-house films with strong yet understated performances, it\’s well worth checking out Angèle & Tony.

Screens in Australia at Palace Cinemas from 12 March. For more fantastic French Films, enjoy the French Film Festival.


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Category: Film & TV

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