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I have to say that Marion Cotillard is fast becoming one of my favourite film actresses.

It helps, of course, that (IMO) she is one of the most beautiful women on the planet...


(Desktop wallpaper - click image for source)

However, she is also a very fine actress, as demonstrated in this recently-released movie (which I strongly recomment if you haven't seen it):

The movie co-stars the muscular Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts as Ali, an ex-fighter living a bleak life low on the income scale, accompanied by his young son from a failed relationship. The name of the movie, appropriately enough, refers to the taste in your mouth if you are on the receiving end of a hard punch.

The basic story sounds unlikely, and tells you little: Stéphanie, a trainer of Killer Whales at a marineland park, loses both legs above the knee in a horrific accident. Initially suicidal, she recovers her life through a developing relationship with the unsentimental, flawed Ali.

This is not a love story, in the conventional sense. What Ali offers Stéphanie comes through an unpitying friendship and (eventually) sex, and is one of the most moving human relationships that I have ever seen in the cinema.

This is not a special effects movie, either - it is about as far from one as you can get. However, it contains the most jaw-dropping special effects that transform Marion Cotillard into a paraplegic, with or without the prosthetics that she eventually receives. This is really "art concealing art" - the technique is so good that it vanishes from view, and you simply accept what you are looking at. (If you're interested, an outline description of the technique used by Mikros Image can be found some way down on this page).

For more on the movie, see this review from The Guardian or click one of the following images for more links.


Stéphanie with Ali, in a sequence where he persuades her to come into the sea with him


Stéphanie re-enacting her lost relationship with the Killer Whale, which apparently moved the audience to tears at the Cannes Film Festival


The reunion scene. Stéphanie, walking on prosthetics, appears in front of an empty tank, and taps on the glass. Time passes, and then the Orca appears and rises up in front of her. "its vast shadow falling like a benediction" (as Rachel Cook writes here in The Observer. This is the best screenshot that I could find (I'll add a better one later when I get the DVD!).


After watching Rust and Bone I seriously wanted to check that Marion Cotillard still has those lovely legs - and she does


If you like this, you might like Marion Cotillard in...

[La Vie en Rose (her Oscar-winning performance as Edith Piaf)]
[Nine (a sizzlingly hot musical based on Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical movie )]
[Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen's feather-light time-travel romantic comedy, one of his most delightful films)]