Kings & Queen

(2005) *** Unrated
150 min. Wellspring. Director: Arnaud Desplechin. Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos, Valentin Lelong, Catherine Deneuve, Maurice Garrel.
Arnaud Desplechin's domestic comedy-drama spins emotions like plates in a variety show. Desplechin's hyperactive intelligence considers two linked storylines. One concerns Nora (Emmanuelle Devos), a widowed, divorced, engaged single mother whose latest crisis is her father's declining health. Her surviving ex-husband (Mathieu Amalric) inhabits the second storyline; the neurotic violinist temporarily lands himself in a mental institution, where he spars with a psychiatrist played by Catherine Deneuve. The two assuage each other in their time of need, but it's not at all clear that they can solve each other's problems. The oh-so-French blend of humor and pathos is an appropriately unsettling view of life as Desplechin knows it.
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