Directed by Arnaud Desplechin, starring Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Maurice Garrel and Valentin Lelong.
If 'Kings and Queen' achieves anything at all, it's the frustration of its audience with a meandering plot and characters that don't elicit any sympathy whatsoever.
Nora (Devos) is a gallery owner and devoted mother from Paris. Introducing herself, she tells us she has been married twice and is preparing to marry for a third time. She goes to visit her ageing father (Garrel) for his birthday and discovers that he has cancer. While she waits for news of his condition, she begins to reminisce about her past.
Ismaël (Amalric), an eccentric musician, is forced to undergo treatment at a psychiatric hospital after his sister has him committed. It emerges that he was Nora's second husband and the only father her son Elias (Lelong) ever knew. As the story unfolds, we learn that neither Nora, nor Ismaël are the people we initially think they are. The problem is that we lose interest because the story is so convoluted.
Beginning with references to art and Greek mythology, the story shifts focus to the nature of families, Ismaël and Nora's relationship and Nora's father's hatred of her, with a few other plot strands added to confuse the audience even more than it already is.
'Kings and Queen' is a messy film that needed at least an hour cut from the length and a greatly streamlined plot. The fact that Nora's father Louis hates her only emerges after his death when it's really of little consequence and therefore a pointless addition to the story. We never see Nora as the ruthless character he clearly perceives her to be.
This film doesn't even come close to being half as clever as it thinks it is. If you find yourself yawning 20 minutes in, don't be surprised; you won't be the only one.