banner image

:: Marie-Jo And Her Two Loves

Set against the luminous surroundings of Marseilles, director, writer and producer Robert Guediguian explores the live and loves of Marie-Jo. Married to construction worker Daniel and mother of teenage Julie (Julie-Marie Parmentier), Marie a hospital patient driver, finds herself dissatisfied with her life and marriage and seeks out an adulterous relationship with a ship’s captain, Marco.

As her relationship with Marco progresses, Marie-Jo finds herself increasingly torn between the two men, struggling to keep them both apart, claiming to love each man equally and the same. Each man fulfils her with what the other lacks, Marco provides solitude and freedom and Daniel with stability and family. But the question the film repeatedly asks us is if it is possible to love two people equally?

Daniel suspects Marie-Jo’s infidelity as he sees her half-naked on a stranger’s balcony. He later places the address when Marco accidentally on purpose bumps into her family at the beach and Marco gives their daughter his address to visit him.

After a close encounter of the third kind, Julie visits Marco when her mother is there. Marie-Jo crouches cowardly in the corner of the bedroom unable to continue with the deceptions any longer, she confronts a passive Daniel who does nothing more than shrugging his shoulders and continuing with fixing the wardrobe.

Without too much difficulty from her husband, and tons that her daughter more than makes up for, Marie-Jo embarks on her “new life” with Marco, leaving behind the ruins of Daniel and her daughter. However this life isn’t satisfactory enough either with her new love barely in town off sailing ship’s, Marie-Jo finds herself more alone than ever, leaving her to go crawling back to Daniel who more than happily accepts her back. Julie lets her have it before she reluctantly accepts her mother back into their family home again.

Without too much time passing Marie-Jo is up to her old tricks again and breaks down during dinner one night confessing to her family that she loves both men and can’t give up Marco, again reiterating the point that two loves are better than one?

A strong performance by Ariane Ascaride as Marie-Jo, and despite her dilemma she teases out the two sides of her character she “needs” to be when with each man. She displays a strong emotional depth and understanding to a complex character in a not so straightforward situation. The scenes between her patient Jean-Christophe (Jacques Boudet) are very moving and emotional as he provides her with some simple wisdom and understanding in her unsuspecting situation. Great performances by the two male leads also as they struggle to understand her behaviour but still fully accept and love her at the same time.

The tragic conclusion doesn’t provide any answers, and may seem like a cop out, but what one is left to ponder is whether this woman was just greedy wanting her cake and all that, or if she was really trapped and couldn’t have one without the other?