This antic, sprawling drama set in contemporary France follows the parallel fates of Parisian art dealer Nora (Devos), who's just learned that her father, an author caring for her young son Elias (Valentin Lelong), has terminal cancer; and her ex-husband Ismaël (Amalric), a neurotic classical musician plotting to escape from a mental hospital after a nervous breakdown.
This highly eccentric, character-driven melodrama by France's most intelligent young director is built upon the marvelous performances of Devos and Amalric, the finest and most versatile actors of their generation. Nora is a woman who seeks to maintain her composure through the worst kinds of crises — the death of her lover and a father's betrayal, while Ismaël is narcissistic, inappropriate, and bursting with strong emotions he can barely fathom. So his unexpectedly moving speech at the finale, in a scene with Lelong, is truly a highlight in a film blessed with many. Watch for Catherine Deneuve in a brief, humorous turn as Ismaël's unflappable psychiatrist. Funny, tragic, and exhilarating all at once, this is a "Queen" you'll surely kneel for.