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CANNES 2015 Review: Valley of Love

French superstars Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu first appeared on screen together in the 1974 film Going Places, and later 1980’s Loulou. Now, thirty-five years later, the two are reconnected for Valley of Love.

The idea for Valley of Love itself is quite meta for a French examination on loss. In Guillaume Nicloux’s film, Huppert and Depardieu star as two actors, aptly named Isabelle and Gérard, who are reunited after being separated for many years. Each receives a letter from their son shortly after his suicide. His letter commands that the pair go together to Death Valley, California, the purpose unknown.

While the plot sounds rather simple, Valley of Love is extremely deep, providing insight into the loneliness surrounding the lives of famous actors. Huppert, as always, is electrifying. Her pairing with Depardieu brings out a force in the actor which we have not seen in quite some time. Huppert’s performance seems effortless; this is easy stuff for the actress who has had her fair share of emotionally and physically draining roles. It is Depardieu who truly surprises her. His effort shines through the screen, and well as his shirt, seen through the gallons of sweat pouring out of the actor throughout the film. The relationship between the two appears so real, that viewers will easily find themselves thinking of the relationship between the actors so many years ago. Nicloux is a master of subtly, so by the time the film’s surprising – and debatably out of place – ending comes around, it is fortunately handled perfectly by the director.

Valley of Love does not seem like the kind of film that will see much success stateside, but fans of the lead actors will be delighted.

[star v=4]

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.