Review: When Margaux Meets Margaux
by Fabien Lemercier
- Sophie Fillières creates layers of realism and fantasy with a playful score in a film starring Sandrine Kiberlain and Agathe Bonitzer
Flexibility and imagination are the key ingredients used by Sophie Fillières to lure the viewer in to appreciate her new feature, When Margaux Meets Margaux [+see also:
film profile]. By clearly emphasising the importance of playfulness in her 6th feature film, the director confirms a singularity and means of dealing with heavy subjects with a certain light-heartedness, such as in Ouch (out of competition at Locarno in 2000), Nice Girl (at Toronto in 2005), Pardon my French [+see also:
film profile] (Berlinale Forum in 2009) and If You Don't, I Will [+see also:
film profile] (Berlinale Panorama in 2014).
This time, however, she pushes it a little further as the two heroines in her film (played by Sandrine Kiberlain and Agathe Bonitzer) are the same woman at two different stages in her life (aged 25 and 45) – a split character that occupies the same space and time. A concept that has an air of science fiction about it, but that Sophie Fillières chooses to approach in a hyper-realistic manner, as a sort of everyday magic. And it’s in this "magical" mirror that the protagonist will see the person she will become, while the other version of the protagonist will see the person she once was, causing both versions of the same character to learn lessons that will ultimately change who she is.
On this premise, the director provides a commentary on the impulsiveness of youth (the young Margaux sleeps around easily and without feeling, is a little stingy, and knows full well she can do whatever she wants) and maturity (the forty-year-old Margaux flits between romantic desire and loneliness, seeing the shadow of death in her surroundings, "afraid of not crying at all and of crying too much"). Two additional characters play the pivotal roles around which the two versions of the protagonist gravitate: a childhood friend, Esther (Lucie Desclozeaux), and a lover (Melvil Poupaud).
By orchestrating this impossible meeting between the past and the future, between the memory of oneself, providing material for psychoanalysis, and the projection of oneself, as if nourished by the unrelenting predictions of a psychic, Sophie Fillières (who wrote the script) has fun playing with the comedy of the situation ("I was afraid that I wouldn't recognise you"). A lightness that gives the film its charm, but which also acts as its Achilles heel. In this game of mirrors, premonitions and potential new beginnings nothing really seems that relevant, which gradually dilutes the seductive potential of the concept, but fortunately does not completely do away with it, thanks to the skill of the filmmaker and the actors.
(Translated from French)
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