Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
When Canadian Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) learns his wife (Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard) may be conspiring with the enemy, he has only 72 hours to prove her innocence and save his family before he must do the unthinkable.
If you want a full synopsis, click below and you will find it!
French Morocco, 1940
Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) parachutes into the desert. He walks some distance before he is met by a driver who supplies him with luggage, a wedding ring, a weapon, and false documents. The driver tells Max that the woman he is to meet will be wearing a purple dress, and to look for the hummingbird.
Max arrives at a club in Casablanca. He finds the woman, Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard). She instantly knows who he is and excitedly greets him with a kiss. They pose as husband and wife to Marianne's friends before they leave. As they drive away, Marianne compliments Max on making a convincing appearance, but she criticizes his Parisian French accent.
Max and Marianne's mission is to kill the Nazi ambassador. They work on their ruse posing as a married couple by living together and trying to make their charade convincing.
The two meet with the ambassador, Hobar (August Diehl). Marianne does most of the talking as she tries to convince Hobar that Max is her French assistant. Hobar insists Max attend a party, but Max pretends he would rather play poker. Hobart challenges him to split a deck of cards. If he gets the low card, he must come to the party. Max expertly shuffles the deck and picks the low card, the outcome he desired.
They continue preparing for their operation, including target practice, and pretend to be husband and wife. Max resists Marianne's sincere advances for a while until they have sex in Max's car in the middle of a sandstorm.
The two attend the party with multiple Nazi officials present. When Hobar descends the stairs and speaks to the assembled guests, there is a large explosion outside. Max and Marianne seize weapons from under a table and shoot the Germans. Max wounds Hobar and then finishes him off with an expert shot to the head. Marianne kills one German when he tries to shoot her, and she nearly kills his wife until Max pulls her away. They continue shooting until they drive away.
With the mission completed, Max and Marianne prepare to part ways, but he invites her to join him in London where they can get married. She agrees to join him and they wed.
An air raid takes place over London. Marianne is in labor and is evacuated from the hospital as bombs start dropping. Max stands by her side, and Marianne gives birth in the hospital courtyard to a baby girl that they name Anna.
After a year, Max and Marianne have grown accustomed to their life as a family. They have truly fallen in love. Max is called in to meet with a commanding officer, Frank Heslop (Jared Harris), as well as an S.O.E. official (Simon McBurney). They inform Max that Marianne is suspected of being a German spy. The real Marianne Beausejour had been killef, and that a German spy (Max's wife) took the dead woman's identity. Max learns that Hobar was a dissident and Hitler had wanted him dead. The officer orders Max to conduct a test of Marianne's loyalty, a Blue Dye operation, or both of them will be shot. Max is infuriated that they question his wife's loyalty, but agrees to cooperate, until he decides to investigate the truth on his own.
Max plans to hold a party for Frank and other officers to help them see that Marianne is who she says she is. Max goes to his sister Bridget's (Lizzy Caplan) home to invite her and her girlfriend Louise (Charlotte Hope).
Max visits an former associate of Marianne's named Guy Sangster (Matthew Goode). Max finds Guy in an hospital recuperating from injuries, confined to a wheelchair, and his face horribly disfigured from his wounds. Max tries to show Guy a photo of Marianne on their wedding day so he can identify her, but Guy's right eye was shot off, and the retina in his left eye is dislodged, so he can only see a white figure. He screams at Max for what has happened to him, but also tells him of another man in France, Paul Delamare, who knew Marianne. Frank orders one of his pilots flying a clandestine mission to supply Resistance fighters in France to find Paul, a one -armed man, and confirm Marianne's identity. While waiting for the answer, he is delayed and killed by Germans.
The party goes on at Max and Marianne's home. Numerous guests are in attendance, with several of them getting intimate in various corners around the house. During the party, an air raid occurs. A German plane is shot down and appears to be going to crash into their apartment. Max runs upstairs to get Anna, but Marianne already has her. He protects them as the plane narrowly misses and crashes in a field behind their house.
Max flies into France and looks for Paul Delamare (Thierry Fremont). Resistance members tell him Paul is in jail. They sneak into town and go to the Gendarme's office so Max can talk to Paul, the former associate of Marianne's. The soldiers take the Gendarme's keys at gunpoint and enters Paul's cell. He is very drunk and he pukes when Max wakes him up. Paul tries to go for his flask, but Max takes it away until Paul answers his questions. He shows Paul the picture of Marianne and asks if he knows who she is. Paul's answers seem to confirm her identity until he mentions that when he saw her, she played the French Marseilles on the piano like a goddess right in front of the Germans. Max is stunned. The Gendarme alerts German troops seeking black market cigarettes to the presence of the Resistance soldiers. Max and his comrades shoot the Germans, and Max tosses a grenade into their personnel carrier before administering a coup de grâce to the wounded Germans.
Max returns to England and demands that Marianne go with him. He takes her to an pub where he tells her to play the piano and the French song Marseilles that Paul had mentioned. After hesitating, Marianne closes the piano, as she knows the story. She starts crying as she didn't think the Germans would find her in England. But they did and threatened to harm Anna if Marianne didn't spy for them. She admits she sent the message last night and she has been forced to spy for the Germans. Max is furious, but he asks her if she really loved him. Marianne says that she does love him and the life they have together.
Max plans to take Marianne and Anna away. He kills the nanny and a jeweler who were her handlers. They go to an airfield where Max tries to get a plane started, but Frank and other soldiers arrive. Frank confronts Max and is preparing to take him in for treason. Marianne gently sets Anna down in the backseat and takes a gun from the glove compartment. She gets out of the car and tells Max she loves him and to take care of Anna. She turns her back and shoots herself in the head. Max takes his jacket off and covers Marianne's body. Frank orders the other soldiers to report that Max killed Marianne by his own hand.
In the final scene, Marianne writes a letter for Anna to read when she is older. She writes how she loved her, Max, and the year they had together in London. The last thing we see as Marianne's voice-over finishes is an older Max and teen-aged Anna walking through the field of their ranch. Credit: IMDB
French Morocco, 1940
If you are like my husband and you hate spoilers you are in luck, I will also be posting a general review/summary! Bear with me, I’m just getting started on reviewing so I might be slightly incoherent!
While a French/Canadian secret mission is an unusual twist for a WWII story the basic plot is simple, two government assassins Brad Pitt as Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard as Marion Beausejour are put to the task of taking out a Nazi ambassador, in order to do this they must pretend to be a married couple. Over the course of their few days together they fall in love, after their task is complete he takes her back to London with him and they marry. They have a daughter and everything is wonderful for a year, until Max’s boss becomes sure that Marianne is in reality a German spy. The rest of the movie is spent mostly with Max as he tries to discover whether or not the woman that he loves is real or a lie.
It is a very powerful movie, There were some scenes that dragged, but they were few and far between. By far the best scene was Marion Cotillard as Marion Beausejour giving birth to her daughter in the middle of a German air raid outside a London hospital I did not mind what could be the historical inaccuracy of the Blitz, because the bombing added a layer of drama to the story. It was powerful emotionally, but it was a slight comic relief compared to the rest of this very heavy film.
I spent the last half of the film unsure how I felt about Marianne, I was sure that she wasn’t who she said she was, but I didn’t want their lives to be ruined.
Even if I have never been a Brad Pitt fan, he did a good job playing quiet Max, a man of a few words who sees his new world falling apart. One can imagine him as a long-term bachelor falling for the beautiful, brave French woman. Cotillard was also convincing as the ambiguous “femme fatale”. There was plenty of chemistry between the two, but also tenderness.
The only thing that I found truly odd was Lizzy Kaplan as Max’s sister, Bridget Vatan. She is portrayed as openly lesbian, and to me it felt like this was added in to make the LGBTQ community feel better about this movie. It felt forced, and I’m all for the portrayal of LGBTQ characters, but this felt false. Like the filmmakers were trying too hard, one scene showing that she was lesbian would have been enough, but they kept trotting out Lizzy Kaplan and Charlotte Hope who played her lover Louise. Before the party, at the party, it just felt like they were shouting LOOK WE HAVE LESBIANS. Those women didn’t deserve to basically become tropes for Hollywood to claim political correctness.
But anyway, rant over! If you enjoy movies with a solid plot, linear storytelling, believable characters, difficult choices, great costumes and soundtrack, then you should like this. What a relief to follow a good plot without the zig-zagging back and forth through time, an overused and often obnoxious editing style.
Below you will find a link to the film on amazon!