MARIE'S STORY, and what a privilege it is to be able to so completely enter a new and alien world like the one shown us in this French film by Jean-Pierre Améris. The movie will surely bring to mind, for older folk, The Miracle Worker and the story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. Talking place in the verdant French countryside, in roughly the same decade that the Keller story occurred here in the USA, this tale of a blind and deaf French girl, Marie Heurtin (Keller and Huertin were born but five years apart), will enchant and move you in ways both expected and surprising. And the fact that you will know, almost from the first scene, where the film must go will not in any way make the journey less wondrous or gripping.
Romantics Anonymous and Bad Company (French version), is evidently not a filmmaker content to stay in the same genre. Other than via the quality of his films, I am not sure you would know that this is the fellow who had made them all. As chirpy, chipper, bubbly and odd as was Romantics Anonymous, Marie's Story proves equally quiet, clear and deeply felt. Both are as different as can be and yet work about as well within their genres as they possibly can. In his new film, Améris seems to know exactly where to place the camera -- and when, and for how long -- so that special moments become just that, without ever trying our patience or resorting to mere cliché.
Isabelle Carré, at left, above), who insists that they give Marie (a knockout performance from Ariana Rivoire, above, right) her chance, we are able to experience the pain and emptiness, and then the growth and change that occur.
Brigitte Catillon (above, center) as Mother Superior and Noémie Churlet (above, left) as Marguerite's best friend and accomplice in Marie's training.
The movie -- another don't miss from Film Movement and running just 95 minutes -- opens this Friday, May 1, in New York City at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema. It will hit L.A. at Laemmle's Royal on Friday, May 29, and in between and after at a number of cities across the USA.
Click here and scroll down to see all currently scheduled playdates, past and present, with cities and theatres listed.