Kings & Queens

Arnaud Desplechin’s Kings and Queens has been attracting a considerable share of critical attention. It’s not often that you get reviewers like Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir making statements like:

A lot of filmmakers talk about bridging the gap between high-gloss pop spectacle and independent auteur cinema, but “Kings and Queen” is one of the best, and most alive, attempts to do that in at least a generation.

The film tells the story of two ex-lovers. At the outset their paths are clearly divided, with Desplechin’s deft style-shifting providing most of the insight into who they each are, and the forces that drove them apart. As their stories unfold and become once more entangled, the style becomes more uniform, but the deftness remains.

We see layer upon layer of artifice stripped away as the characters’ self-perception and status in the eyes of their acquaintances are gradually laid bare, often in shocking ways. The film was not shocking and its twists and turns are never nail-biting, but the surprises are deeply felt. The exploration of identity is not novel, but it is allowed to unfold in a wonderfully sympathetic manner.

It provided a fine way to spend our first night in NYC.

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6 comments

  1. Ah, to be in New York and have great movies at your disposal! Here in Grand Rapids, we have to settle for Batman Begins and Bewitched. (Actually, the Batman flick was surprisingly good.) Enjoy your time there!

  2. Well, we’re actually back in GR already. It was a very brief trip! We’re off to see Batman tonight.

    I don’t know much about the films playing at UICA currently, but I’m sure some of them are worthy 🙂

  3. James

    Been wondering how your greencard worked for you on your travels? Did you get through immigration pretty quick?

  4. We didn’t need to use it on this trip (I’d wondered if we’d need to go through Canada, but that didn’t make sense in the end).

    When we went to England it was fine. Kari and I went through the residents’ line at O’Hare and the guy swiped my green card through his machine and then sent us through. Not quite so quick as for citizens, I’d guess, but pretty close.

  5. did you see susan?

    also, i’m going to have to hear many more nyc stories soon.

    please.

  6. Of course we saw Susan! I’m just spreading my entries over a few days 🙂

    Those on AIM/iChat can ask me for more details…