Reinventing Marvin / Marvin ou la belle éducation
Director: Anne Fontaine
2017 | France | 115m
GENRE: Arts & Literature | Coming Out | Drama | Gay | Homophobia | Relationships | Sexuality | Theatre/Performance Art | Youth (18 & Under)
SECTION: World Cinema
Anne Fontaine’s powerful new film, winner of the Queer Lion award at the Venice International Film Festival, explores the painful relationship a young gay man has with his past. Marvin grows up amid a gruff and boorish family in a French village. Artistically inclined, with a nascent attraction to other boys in his class, he’s the victim of aggressive bullying at school and home. When he gets into a Parisian drama school and meets a more welcoming peer group, he has the opportunity to craft a completely new identity. He changes his name and meets a wealthy older man who introduces him to Oscar-nominated actress Isabelle Huppert, whimsically playing herself. But his childhood experiences still haunt and call to him, leading him to write a theater piece that brings him into the public eye but causes recriminations back home. Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel, The Innocents) creates a scenario that fluidly drifts between Marvin’s past and his present, revealing the frequently fraught moments from adolescence that make the man.
In the title role, Finnegan Oldfield—whose performance garnered him a César nomination—and newcomer Jules Porier give indelible performances as the older and younger incarnations of Marvin, respectively. Charles Berling (The Man of My Life, Frameline31), Catherine Mouchet, Vincent Macaigne, and Her Highness Huppert memorably play mentors who nurture Marvin at pivotal times. With grace and vivid storytelling, Reinventing Marvin suggests that the ties of family that bind and chafe can eventually loosen and perhaps set us free.