From Xavier Dolan’s Mommy to The Florida Project by Sean Baker, many recent films have dwelt on volatile parent-child relationships. Angel Face, from first-time director Vanessa Filho, also explores this territory. Underneath the surface of scratchy sequins and waxy lipstick kisses, there is much to celebrate in this sparkling debut.
Marion Cotillard plays Marlene, a just-married but already unfaithful young woman, a single mother who can never quite say or do the right thing for her eight-year-old daughter Elli (Ayline Aksoy-Etaix). At first, Marlene seems to be a familiar character, with her dirty bottle-blonde hair and a garish neon wardrobe. Her performance is more surface-level than, say, Bria Vinaite’s in The Florida Project, but her role seems to be precisely defined by this tacky aesthetic and a great deal of boozy melodrama.
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