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Kings & Queen

3.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Nov 22, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Expertly mixing comedy, tragedy and melodrama, Kings and Queen tells the story of two former lovers who find their lives linked once again, inexplicably. Nora (Emmanuelle Devos) is a 35-year old art gallery director and single mother who has been unlucky in love until now when she meets a successful businessman. When a crisis occurs, Nora must track down her ex-husband, Ismaël (Mathieu Amalric) a disheveled neurotic musician who has descended into a comic nighmare and is mistakenly committed to a mental hospital under the control of a steely clinical psychiatrist (Catherine Deneuve). As their worlds collide, the stage is set for a truly unforgettable ending. Internationally acclaimed director Arnaud Desplechin (Esther Kahn, My Sex Life…) presents an exhilarating new film that is one of the best reviewed movies of the year.


A film can be smart and subtle and still be a roller coaster ride. Case in point: Kings and Queen; Arnaud Desplechin's brilliant, exhilarating movie never takes a predictable turn. We follow two people along mostly parallel paths: Nora (Emmanuelle Devos, from Read My Lips), a chic gallery owner with an ailing father and an impending marriage, and Ismael (Mathieu Amalric), a hyperactive musician who's been sent to a psychiatric hospital against his will. The story of the self-contained Nora can be as scorching as an Ingmar Bergman movie (especially late in the film), while daffy Ismael's tale is a screwball comedy at times--complete with a droll Catherine Deneuve as his bemused doctor. Desplechin's How I Got Into an Argument… (My Sex Life) was one of the best European films of the 1990s (also starring Amalric and Devos), and he is gifted with a sure sense of human behavior as well as cinematic dexterity.. Rarely have so many scenes of people talking in rooms flown by so quickly. Movies need not travel to exotic locales to summon up an adventure, and this is film adventuring of a high order. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Emmanuelle Devos, Geoffrey Carey, Thierry Bosc, Olivier Rabourdin, Maurice Garrel
  • Directors: Arnaud Desplechin
  • Writers: Arnaud Desplechin, Roger Bohbot
  • Producers: Pascal Caucheteux
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English, French, German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Wellspring
  • DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item can be shipped to over 75 destinations outside of the U.S. Learn More
  • ASIN: B000B9EYG6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,818 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kings & Queen" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
There is a chilling scene towards the end of the brilliant, acidic and poetic "Kings and Queen" which shoots a flaming arrow through the heart of any notion that we may have that this film is in any way melodramatic or sentimental (the movie begins and ends with "Moon River"): Nora (the amazing Emmanuelle Devos) comes upon a passage in her dead father, Louis's diary in which he writes about her and among other very cold and brutally honest things, he writes: "I hate that you will survive me...I wish that you were the one dying...I hate you." Couple this with Louis' admission that, since his wife, Nora's mother was sick for a long time, he fell in love with Nora and that she took advantage of his feelings for her...in essence she seduced him. Incest? I'm not sure.
Director Arnaud Desplechin shoots this scene both in color (Nora reading) and in flickering, silent film style black and white (Louis reciting his diary): this simple set up is so effective and so truthful that you gasp with recognition and understanding. Desplechin is dealing with the basic things of life here and what better in this scene than "the thin line between love and hate?"
Desplechin is telling two stories here: one with Nora (and this Nora shares many qualities with Ibsen's Nora...i.e.....she recreates herself during the course of this film) and that of Ismael (the formidable Mathieu Almaric): a former lover of Nora's and a man who is bi-polar, though I prefer the old name for this disease, manic depression which more perfectly describes Ismael.
Nora spends the entire film looking for a father for her child, Elias and Ismael spends the entire film looking for a safe place for himself.
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Format: DVD
This is a pretty complex work of art, so be ready for 2.5 hours of moody melodrama and odd-ball comedy. There are two major story lines in this film, not the typical pattern of a central story line that has a few tangents. These two story lines have equal weight and are allowed to develop for over an hour independent of each other before the films allows the overlap of stories and characters.

In the first story, a beautiful and sophisticated woman, Nora, visits her retired university professor father and finds him very ill. Supported by the staff of the art gallery she manages as well as a sophisticated millionaire boyfriend, she begins to assist her father navigate the medical system. She contacts her junkie sister who begins to hitch hike to her father's side before he dies. She competently holds everything together until a hospice nurse begins to help as the old man goes down for the third time. The intense emotions, the odd dreams, the confrontive relationships full of old hurts, all reminded me of Ingmar Bergman's moody films.

In the second story, a delightfully eccentric musician is hospitalized in a mental hospital at the request of his rageful sister and some unknown party. Ismael, the musician, is comic, creative, resourceful, delightful, sensitive, eccentric, and oddly sexy. He does on a quest to find out who and why he was hositalized. He gets little help from his addicted lawyer or his cold psychiatrist, played by Catherine Deneuve. He continues to see his African Freudian psychotherapist, whom he has seen for 7 years, and we are treated to some wonderful scenes of psychotherapy gone astray.
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Comment 28 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This film really should have brought the director Andres Desplechin much deserved and long overdue fame in the United States; it is one of the best films to come out of France (as far as I can tell) in a long time, and one of the best films of the year from anywhere. While very different, and a bit darker, I would compare the film to Jules and Jim for its fresh and illuminating power.

It tells the story of Nora (the "Queen" played by the always intriguing Emmanuelle Devos), and the men in her life, most notably her two exes (one of whom either died or was killed and the other who has just been committed to a mental hospital), her current husband, her son, and her father. She is, it seems, a light and lovely woman who one cannot help but admire, but one who (as we come to discover) can also devastate those who love her. The film comes to alternate between Nora's point of view and that of Ismael, her lively if a bit neurotic ex-husband. The characters are brought to life in a remarkable way, and the stories are brought to a very thoughtful and satisfying (even if a bit troubling) conclusion, insofar as both characters have a deep but very different connection to Nora's son. One feature of the film that is particularly intriguing is the way in which (we) the audience are led to reevaluate our own allegiances to the various characters throughout the film.

The film does start out a bit slowly, and takes its time to tell its stories, but it gradually came to grip me and I couldn't shake (and didn't want to) the feelings and memories and questions it raised for me for several days afterwards.
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Comment 15 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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