This adaptation of Milan Füst’s book is a European co-production that makes you laugh, a little travel, but hardly to stun, because of a few choices that cut the emotion a little.
The first thing you can count on My wife’s story, European co-production directed by Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi – first noticed in France in the middle of summer 2000 with Simon the mage, then signatory, seventeen years later, of the coup d’éclat Body and soul, which won him the Golden Bear at the Berlinale – is his hero. Such a romantic plot – adapted from the novel by the Hungarian Milan Füst – requires a very charismatic central character: luckily, the film can rest on the shoulders of its actor, the Dutch actor Gijs Naber, extraordinary. Here in the skin of a cargo captain who is both good-natured and very badass, good but a bit of a bandit at times, he truly leads the spectator in his wake as he imposes his strength tinged with a slight fantasy.
This main character, Jakob Störr, one day makes the decision to marry a bride who will wait for him when he is on the sea. A choice decided above all out of convenience, by the desire to have a caring and caring person. ready to help who would wait for her between two trips. But also, deeply, by the taste for risk: Jakob Störr is very playful and is not afraid of anything. By the greatest of luck, the one he chooses turns out to be Lizzy – played by French star Léa Seydoux – seductive tornado, lying, quite rich, social and liking herself more than anything else. The affection which inhabits these two “adventurers” will hold, despite their incessant escapades.
From the streets of Paris to the seas or the ports, and in seven “chapters”, this film unfolds sparking situations, exciting on paper. The staging manages to interest because it has a shiny side, searching a little the beings passing in front of the lens. And the photography, due to Marcell Rév, is of course very beautiful. Side emotion, on the other hand, the shoe pinches somewhat. It is not so much that the film is cold or not sufficiently rhythmic, but it makes its small adventures follow one another in a slightly acidic atmosphere, while entertaining and touching, but without reaching the madness or the sentimental shipwreck that could leave upset.
In fact, the assembly hinders: scenes appear too short, very often, as if cut before the end, too narrative or too overtly acid or corrosive, and at the same time, the serious emotion does not have time to build itself, to develop and to grow, until invading the spectator. My wife’s story In the end, it remains a film that we would have liked to love more, and take with us, if the emotions it brings to life were not so controlled, framed, so that it ultimately looks beautiful. A beautiful side that is a little excessive and suffocating.
My wife’s story is presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, in competition for the Palme d’Or.
Find all the films of the Festival in our Cannes 2021 file
Visual: © Pyramide Films