Choosing a location she knows well, writer/director Alix Delaporte has fashioned an unconventional, contemporary romance as her debut feature with Angèle and Tony: a tale of two very different individuals coming together against the backdrop of the Normandy coast.
Choosing a location she knows well,
writer/director Alix Delaporte has fashioned an unconventional, contemporary
romance as her debut feature with Angèle and Tony: a tale of two very different individuals coming together
against the backdrop of the Normandy coast. 27 year
old parolee Angèle (Clotilde Hesme) arrives
in a small fishing village, looking for a new life in which she can become
re-acquainted with her estranged young son, Yohan (Antoine Couleau) who now lives with his grandparents. However, it becomes clear from the
outset that Angèle is a damaged soul.
She is straight faced and indifferent, having sex in the opening scene with
a random guy in exchange for a sorry looking action figure to give to her
son. Through a personal ad, she
soon meets Tony (Grégory Gadebois), a
sad sack fisherman in his forties who lives with his mother (Evelyne Didi). With the absence of an actual date,
their meeting is blunt and awkward, but Angèle is soon trying to throw herself
at Tony. Taken aback by her
directness, he refuses her advances but he likes her and so provides her with
lodgings at his home, training her as an assistant fishmonger. As Angèle settles in to village life
whilst battling her past demons and trying to bond with her son, she and Tony
slowly become closer.
hints at social issues in the film surrounding the fishing profession, with
riots arising from fishing regulations imposed on the community and a sub-plot
concerning Tony’s brother and his determination to recover the body of his fisherman
father lost at sea. However, none
of this ever really pulls away the focus from the relationship between the
protagonists, with the
stunning Normandy coastline, cold and unforgiving setting the perfect scene.
Tony’s story is a simple one, but intimate and real and with Hesme and Gadebois
portraying their characters with great conviction and sensitivity, you are
drawn in to their small world. On
first sight they are completely mismatched. Angèle is constantly on the edge – young and attractive but
cold and anguished, unsure how to deal with life following her time in prison
and using mindless sex to escape her realities. The only family she has is her young son and she does not
know how to begin to fight for him.
Tony is down to earth and hardworking, with an overbearing mother,
loving brother and a solid place within his community. But it is their opposing qualities and
faults that help them to rescue each other from themselves. Independent and set in his ways, Angèle
provides Tony with a new focus and something about her brings out a fun side in
him that we see no sign of in the beginning. Similarly, Tony seems to be the only one able to whip Angèle
in to shape, teaching her the fishing trade and giving her the confidence to
fight for her son instead of giving up and walking away. Despite some teething problems with
Tony’s mother, Angèle begins to get involved in village life – working hard and
making a place for herself, with Tony bringing out warmth in her that was invisible behind her indifferent manner. Somewhat dreary and sombre, the tone of
the film in the first half seems to reflect Angèle’s plight. As she becomes happier, warming to Tony
and her new life, a powerful piano score finally injects some light, life and
emotion in to the story in the last part.
touching performances throughout, a quiet but powerful story and a comforting
resolution out in the cold of a windy beach, Angèle and Tony is certainly a
modern and original romantic drama.