(Please excuse my likely incorrect French.)
How many times have you searched an actor, actress, or director’s name on Netflix or Amazon Instant Video and been stunned to find … nothing available? If you are a longtime member of either, chances are that is a frequent occurrence.
Case in point, one of my favorite actresses, the stunning French powerhouse Marion Cotillard. There is a strong argument to be made for Cotillard as the greatest working actress in cinema, and I think “Rust and Bone” is exhibit A. She has a starring role in James Gray’s “The Immigrant,” which screened at Cannes, which should put her in this year’s Oscar conversation. She was absurdly ignored last year.
Of course, Netflix offers her biggies … on disc only. There is the great “Rust and Bone,” her Oscar-winning performance in “La Vie en Rose,” the hits (“Dark Knight Rises,” “Inception,” “Midnight in Paris”), the quasi-hits (“Public Enemies,” “Contagion”), the flops (the underrated “A Good Year,” “Nine”), and a few other more obscure Marion films for rental, including Abel Ferrara’s “Mary,” “Toi et Moi,” and “Innocence”; I must admit, I know little about the latter two.
But one of my early faves, “Love Me if You Dare,” is not available. I have fond memories of seeing that strange romantic-comedy at the Dipson Amherst upon release, and it won me over with its heart-on-its-sleeve insanity. It was the first time I noticed Cotillard, as well as Guillaume Canet, her real-life boyfriend and frequent costar.
Amazon? For Prime Instant Video members, there are no free streaming options, but there are some nice rental choices, including “Love Me if You Dare.”
What about free streaming choice starring the great Marion C? There are two choices, both from Netflix: “Big Fish” and “Love Me if You Dare.” You already know “Big Fish”; it’s the Tim Burton comedy-drama that starred Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, and, in a small role as Billy Crudup’s bride-to-be, Marion Cotillard.
“Little White Lies,” though, is a must-watch … If you love Marion Cottilard, that is. Is it a great film? No, certainly not. It is self-indulgent, overlong, and often falls very flat. But if you are a Cotillard fan, you will find it a worthy drama whose successes are chiefly due to casting. This is really a Gallic “Big Chill” — a group of longtime friends come together for a summer holiday — with a cast of attractive French heavyweights, and the melodrama is a tad overwhelming, but it mostly works.
Part of the reason is that the cast really is believable as a group of friends. As Canet told ScreenDaily around the film’s Toronto International Film Fest premiere:
“We shot the movie in the summer, but in May I asked them to come to the house where we were shooting the film. I wanted them to spend three days in this house, feeling the place and using the boat, using the kitchen. I wanted them to remember the place when they were coming back to shoot — they would feel they had already spent years of vacation in that house.”
But what really stands out is the casting itself, chiefly the big three stars: François Cluzet “The Intouchables,” Canet’s “Tell No One”), Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), and Marion Cottilard. It is a treat to see Cotillard here, playing a relatively “normal” character, and doing it well.
Perhaps we will see more streaming Marion soon, and we can look for her soon onscreen in Canet’s “Blood Ties.” If that’s not enough for you, have you watched the video for her lovely song with Franz Ferdinand?
(Incidentally, “Lies” famously suffered a disastrous first screening at TIFF 2010 — the subtitles did not work.)