ALI (Matthias Schoenaerts) finds himself with a five-year-old child on his hands. SAM (Armand Verdure) is his son, but he hardly knows him. Homeless, penniless and friendless, Ali takes refuge with his sister ANNA (Corinne Masiero) in Antibes, in the south of France. There things improve immediately. She puts them up in her garage, she takes the child under her wing and the weather is glorious.
Ali, a man of formidable size and strength, gets a job as a bouncer in a nightclub. He comes to the aid of STEPHANIE (Marion Cotillard) during a nightclub brawl. Aloof and beautiful, Stephanie seems unattainable, but in his frank manner Ali leaves her his phone number anyway.
Stephanie trains orca whales at Marineland. When a performance ends in tragedy, a call in the night again brings them together. When Ali sees her next, Stephanie is confined to a wheel chair: she has lost her legs and quite a few illusions.
Ali’s direct, unpitying physicality becomes Stephanie’s lifeline, but Ali too is transformed by Stephanie’s tough resilience.And Stephanie comes alive again. As their stories intersect and diverge, they navigate a world where strength, beauty, youth and blood are commodities-but where trust, truth, loyalty and love cannot be bought and sold, and courage comes in many forms.
DIRECTOR: Jacques Audiard
RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes
COUNTRY: France, Belgium
BBFC RATING: 15 (Click here for the full classification report)
BBC Radio 5Live
Nigel Floyd and Boyd Hilton fill in for regular film reviewer, Mark Kermode.
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