More Than Ever
Vicky Krieps and the late Gaspard Ulliel excel in this moving drama about a woman coming to terms with a radical change in her life.
Hélène Mouchet (Krieps) looks in a mirror at the start of Emily Atef’s third feature, almost questioning what she sees. She has been ill for some time, with a condition that vastly reduces her lung capacity. What’s worse, she cannot bear the stares of friends who were once intimates but no longer know how to talk to her. Or her doting husband (Ulliel), who feels more suffocating than caring. It’s only when she encounters someone online who she feels comfortable in confiding in that Hélène feels any solace. She wants to go to Norway to see him, but knows that could shatter the life she has known.
The strength of Atef’s film lies in leaving space between words. Silence is a key part of the film – the unspoken realm where whatever might be said could cause irreparable damage and so remains unspoken. Nevertheless, it remains written on the characters’ faces. Krieps has gone from strength to strength since her breakthrough in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. Here she is a magnetic presence, conveying Hélène’s frustrations and fears without descending into melodramatic cliches. And it’s impossible not to feel a pang of sadness for Ulliel, a gifted and charismatic actor, who died in an accident shortly after this film was completed.