We ultimately discover through flashbacks the reason that Sibyl is so fascinated with Margot is that earlier in her life, she was a similar brand of “hot mess.” In the current day, Sibyl is sober, but in the past, she was quite the alcoholic. She had a boyfriend, Gabriel (Niels Schneider), who, during their passionate affair, helped her through the early stages of her sobriety. She and Gabriel don’t stay together, but she thinks of him often, even though now she is married to Etienne (Paul Hamy). Sibyl also has a younger sister, Edith (Laure Calamy), who’s a bit of a mess herself and is currently staying with her, Etienne, and their two young daughters.
“….has a way of directing women that makes them much more three dimensional than a lot of films ever even try to depict them.”
Sibyl is a hilarious high drama that is utterly relatable to myself personally, and probably a lot of other creative people, as I tend to believe we accidentally create drama in our lives when we can’t figure out how to get it on the page. It’s also a perfect example of how artists and writers can sometimes go over the line in the sands of respect to people they know with their fictional representations of them. I haven’t seen a movie that was both so hilarious and so devastating that I truly laughed and cried in equal measure for such a long time. Virginie Efira is so wholly relatable. She’s not incredibly well put together. She’s an exceptionally human character that makes mistake-after-mistake but continues to keep on trying to be a good person, which is essentially what life is all about.
The overarching theme of Sibyl is recovery, whether from drugs and alcohol or a loss or death of a loved one. It captures it in a way that is not too saccharine or too dour. It’s one of the most realistic depictions of coming back to oneself after a troublesome time I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. Harari and Triet’s script is incredible and is yet another reason why I often feel that the French are lightyears ahead of everyone, when it comes to cinematic, dramatic storytelling, and have been for years. Triet also has a way of directing women that makes them much more three dimensional than a lot of films ever even try to depict them. There are visually stunning scenes throughout, but the acting and writing are the pièce de résistance of Sibyl and should be exactly why you put this film on your radar as one to watch from 2019. It’s certainly going on my end of year favorite list.