In the French romantic comedy-drama ‘A Faithful Man’, the protagonist Abel goes from one love triangle into the next.
Abel is played by Louis Garrel, who is also the director and co-writer of the movie. This allows him to wonderfully tell the story just like he had imagined it. The female protagonist Marianne is played by his wife Laetitia Casta and this fact also seems to contribute to the movie as their intricate relationship patterns are brought onto the screen with delicate subtlety.
Abel and Marianne go to the same university and live together for some time. But then, Marianne leaves Abel for their mutual friend Paul whom she likes more. Abel accepts their break-up and because fighting for his feelings is not his strongest side, he packs up his things. Eight years later, after Paul’s death, the matured Abel decides to once more try his luck with Marianne.
The second central role of the movie is played by Ève, a 19-year old Lily-Rose Depp, who shows charismatic determination and creativity in clearly indicating and enacting her feelings and wishes in a way that is very distinctive to her character. Ève has had a crush on Abel since she was a teenager. And now as a grown-up, she has the opportunity to play her cards.
The series of events that she initiates show that one of Oscar Wilde’s sayings could be quite accurate. That is: “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” By the way, in some long camera shots, the woman bears surprising similarity to her father Johnny Depp (I am reminded of his Jack Sparrow in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’). And who doesn’t know, her mother is no other than Vanessa Paradise.
The movie has used an interesting approach in some of its scenes. In some of the scenes, you can hear the character’s inner monologue and this attributes meaning and motivation to the activities we see on the screen. This type of story-telling brings enjoyable psychological intimacy and invigorates the sense of the movie just like a quiet part at a piano concert.
Overall, I got the impression that the events in the movie are quite random and that they are not the result of a specific aim. But perhaps the factors influencing the characters are more hidden from what they first appear as. This way, ‘A Faithful Man’ gives the audience an effective brain training session that is no doubt useful.
Photo: scene from the movie