I have been a fan of Louis Garrel ever since seeing him in Bernardo Bertolucci’s 2003 film The Dreamers. I appreciated all his performances as an actor, particularly in Ma Mere and Beloved. He has a great onscreen presence and boundless charisma, or in layman’s terms, I have a bit of a celebrity crush on the guy. However, I’m not saying that to negate his acting, writing, or directing ability.
A Faithful Man is the incredibly French story of a man named Abel who lives with his girlfriend, Marianne, played by Garrel’s real-life wife, Laetitia Casta. His girlfriend unceremoniously announces one day that she is having an affair with Abel’s best friend and that she is pregnant with his baby. She kicks Abel out of the house and ends up marrying Paul, the best friend. She is married to Paul for eight years when he unexpectedly dies.
Abel attends Paul’s funeral and sees Marianne there. Shortly after, they rekindle their relationship. Things seem to be returning to how they were eight years earlier, when suddenly, Paul’s younger sister, who is now very much an adult (played by Lily Rose Depp in one of her only French-speaking roles) professes her undying love for Abel to Marianne. Abel is in a similar situation Marianne was in eight years ago, having to choose between two women.
“…she is having an affair with Abel’s best friend and that she is pregnant with his baby.”
The film is short and light, despite the subject matter. I wish that there was a little more attention paid to the best friend’s death or to the relationship between Marianne’s son and Abel. I did enjoy the film, but I felt as though it could have been more than what it was, so for that, I can’t give it as high of a rating as I would have been anticipated. However, I can give Garrel a lot of credit for making light out of what, in reality, might be an extremely emotionally taxing situation.
The writing is solid, and the cinematography is beautiful. Also, all the performances are great comedic exercises. I’m especially interested in seeing Lily-Rose Depp’s career trajectory outside of being a Kevin Smith repertory player. Garrel and Casta have wonderful chemistry together, which one would hope a married couple would have. They both shine equally on their own as well. Also, I can’t neglect to mention how hilarious Joseph Engel, who plays Marianne’s son, Joseph is in the film. His precocious obsession with police procedurals and the mischief that ensues is really delightful.
Overall, A Faithful Man is a cute French romantic comedy that I thought was going to be something more. If you go in expecting something light, you won’t be disappointed.
A Faithful Man directed by Louis Garrel. Written by Jean-Claude Carriere and Louis Garrel. Starring Louis Garrel, Laetitia Casta, Lily-Rose Depp, Joseph Engel.
7.5 out of 10 Love Triangles