A Faithful Man [L'Homme fidèle] (2018)
Directed by Louis Garrel
Abel (Louis Garrel) is a simple man, who wants nothing more than to love and to be loved by Marianne (Laetitia Casta), the woman of his dreams. But Marianne has other plans. She is sleeping with Abel’s best friend Paul and he is the father of her unborn child. We pick up our story eight years later; Paul has died, so the couple attempt to rekindle their relationship.
This is truly a fantastic little film. It envelops you in its ever-changing landscape of love and mystery. Questioning at every turn, the motives of Abel’s co-stars and how each plot thread benefits them. The characters are expertly written, making them extremely engaging and believable, urging you to care for our protagonists well being. Abel is tangled in a web of love, that spiders want to claim for their own agenda. Aside from this, it is also very sweet and innocent. A light-hearted tone is only accomplished by the well crafted character that Abel is, despite how heart-breaking each event must be for him.
Louis Garrel is great as Abel and true to his title, a very faithful man. No matter what he is faced with, all his decisions are in the best interest of his lost love Marianne. He is truly a Naïve character, easily swayed and taken advantage of by the two lead females, as well as Marianne’s 8-year-old son. Oblivious to the role he is playing in their schemes. As likeable as the character is, it is also infuriating how stupid he can be, falling under the spell of Marianne and succumbing to her every whim.
Laetitia Casta’s character Marianne, is the deceitful puppet master of the whole story. With Abel wrapped around her finger from start to finish she has control of all the pieces on the board, despite being the one who cheated on him in the first place. She is truly a compelling character to watch, trying to grasp some understanding in every move she makes, as well as asking ourselves if her love for Abel is true, or out of necessity to her own gains.
Eve (Lily-Rose Depp) is the other woman, almost interjected into Abel’s life. The sister of Paul, who has been obsessed with Abel since she was a little girl. She could quite easily be labelled as a stalker, seeing our lead not really as a person with his own feelings, but a prize to be won or a hurdle to be accomplished. Depp embodies the possessive Eve with ease, creating a great match to go head to head with Marianne.
Lastly the final piece of the puzzle is Joseph (Joseph Engel), the son of Marianne. He has a love for detective stories, so creates one for Abel. Swearing to him that his mother has committed a crime and leaves him the clues to solve it. This was by far the most intriguing part of the tale, weaving a wonderful sense of mystery into the plot and constantly questioning whether the little boy is being truthful, or once again playing Abel into his hand.
Overall the film sports a great cast, with strong female leads and a protagonist who has his faults, but is very much relatable from start to finish. A hapless gentleman who will have you shouting at your screens, to “Just get out of there”, but ultimately we just want him to be happy.