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