A person declares he’ll marry the subsequent lady to stroll right into a bar. That’s probably the most fascinating factor about Ildiko Enyedi’s The Story Of My Wife, a flat Cannes Film Festival competitors entry that squanders its intriguing premise.
An adaptation of Milán Füst’s Nineteen Twenties set novel, it enjoys enticing settings however suffers from deadly flaws. Chief of those is the choice to rent worldwide actors for a script that’s within the English language. Dutch actor Gijs Naber performs it straight as Jakob Störr, the ocean captain who decides to marry the conveniently lovely Lizzy (Léa Seydoux) when he spies her within the Parisian bar. Mystifyingly, she agrees. He goes off to sea; we don’t know what she will get as much as whereas he’s away. He comes again, anxious about what she’s been as much as whereas he’s been away. It most likely concerned Louis Garrel. He doesn’t seem to care any greater than we do, and but the story goes on for a full 169 minutes because the captain and his spouse yo-yo between a string of comparable eventualities.
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This comes as a disappointment from the director of the mesmerizing On Physique and Soul, who received the Digital camera d’Or for 1989’s My Twentieth Century. She additionally wrote the screenplay, which might have benefited from work by a local English speaker. The dialogue feels unconvincing all through as a set of completed actors wrestle to work in a language that isn’t their first.
Naber particularly seems to be uncomfortable, and by no means settles into a job that’s skinny to start with. Jakob is supposedly jealous, and sometimes flies into violent rages, however he drifts round with an expressionless self-consciousness that makes his profitable womanizing exhausting to credit score. Seydoux fares higher, no less than bodily inhabiting her assured character, but in addition struggles to carry wit and spark to the dialogue. That is a kind of movies by which you solely understand how folks really feel about one another as a result of they are saying it, consistently. And it’s one other talky relationships drama by which Seydoux spends lots of time in mattress and dialog with a philandering older man. What with this and fellow Cannes movie Deception, we will need to have spent round an hour watching her smoke post-coital cigarettes.
If any scene comes near being tense, it’s one the place Jakob is at sea, captaining a cruise ship for the primary time. A hearth breaks out on the deck, and he instructions the crew to press on reasonably than name for assist — he’s fairly positive it’ll rain. Many lives hinge on this conviction, and it’s — briefly — gripping. In any other case, you need to agree with Jakob when he declares at one level that his story is “simply depressing.”