Audiard visits a physicality that isn't necessarily female or male, but of the body, and toward the body, as in Cotillard's wide, lidded eyes when she watches him punching, thumping and bleeding in illegal bare-fisted takedown fights.
The notion of strings-free sex gets a good working over from director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), who takes as much pride in exploring the workings of Stephanie's troubled mind as he does in digitally removing her legs.
The film achieves what all dramatic films should strive for: complete audience empathy for the main characters. I cared for these two so deeply, and the many, many moments of quiet triumph gave me rushes of joy. A beautiful triumph of precision.
In 'Rust and Bone,' Marion Cotillard loses both legs but retains her hotness. This might seem like an inappropriate observation, but it's very much to the point of this very physical French romance of redemptive suffering from director Jacques Audiard.
This is a very different film to Audiard's most recent release - the impressive A Prophet - but it has a similar sense of maturity about it, and could well have acting awards aplenty heading its way in the coming months.