Angèle and Tony
Beguiling and slow-moving story charting unlikely romance in remote Normandy fishing village
A beguiling and slow-moving story about an unlikely romance in a remote Normandy fishing village, director Alix Delaporte’s debut feature film certainly doesn’t force its way into audiences’ attentions. But for cinemagoers looking for some considered calm amidst the first explosions of the blockbuster season, Angèle and Tony is well worth seeking out.
Angèle (Clotilde Hesme) is immediately intriguing; striking in appearance but out of place in every context and unwilling to reveal anything about herself to anyone. Her relationship with fisherman Tony (Grégory Gadebois) begins in response to a personal ad and seems doomed from the start, but a connection of sorts develops, although he is as unsure as the audience will be as to what she really wants from him.
Delaporte doesn’t spell anything out in this film; she offers hints of Angèle’s former life (we learn that she has a son, and also that she may have been involved in the death of her husband) but prefers to focus on the present moment, and the hopeful possibility that these troubled characters can find some happiness with each other. Hesme and Gadebois are both very good, somehow convincing us that this odd couple may inexplicably be right for each other, and the seaport setting is given a touch of poetry by Mathieu Maestracci’s gentle score.