French cinema can be so rewarding because of it's well, Frenchness. Moreover, there is something about the honesty of many French actors to not care about showing their age and deteriorating physicality unlike many of their American movie star counterparts.
Valley Of Love is one such film starring the wonderful Isabelle Huppert and an extraordinary bear like Gerard Depardieu who is carrying a lot of weight these days but is not afraid to let it all hang out.
The action takes place entirely in the sweltering heat of California’s Death Valley and the kitchness of American pseudo ranches like hotels and their dreadful interiors and endless country and western music.
Ex-married couple Huppert and Depardieu, who also happen to be called Isabelle and Gerard in the film and both are actors to boot, are brought together following the suicide of their 25-year-old son who left them each a letter. In it, he tells them that on a specific day and time he will reappear for just a short time to meet them, but they must follow the precise set of instructions set out in the letter. We follow them each day on their arduous trips to various locations in Death Valley during the midday sun. They spend their evenings running over why their son killed himself with much recrimination of their own behaviour and some painful realisations. As the film progresses director Guillaume Nicloux manages to create an increasingly surreal and disturbing atmosphere. I won't spoil the ending, save to say, that it has a classic French exit and the whole thing was a pleasure to experience.
Here's the trailer