Love, death, and fish all mingle in this offbeat comedy-drama from award-winning Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve. Bibiane Champagne (Marie-Josee Croze) is the daughter of a well-known fashion designer who dabbles in modeling when she's not busy helping to run the family business with her brother Phillippe (Bobby Beshro). But Bibiane has not been especially happy in her work lately, owing in part to an unexpected pregnancy that led her to have an abortion. Bibiane tries drowning her sorrows in alcohol and drugs, and late one night, after several drinks too many, she hits a jaywalker while driving home. The pedestrian staggers away after the accident, and the next morning, Bibiane remembers what happened and is frightened at the prospect that she may have killed someone. When Bibiane reads a newspaper account the next day of a seafood delivery man who died in his kitchen after being struck by a hit-and-run driver, she's convinced she was responsible for the crime. Guiltily attending the man's funeral, Bibiane strikes up a conversation with his son, Evian (Jean-Nicholas Verreault), and soon the two have become romantically involved, with Bibiane unable to tell Evian her secret. Maelstrom was shown in competition at both the Montreal World Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival in 2000. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
as Bibiane Champagne
as Claire Gunderson
as The Fish
as Stranger in Subway
as Marie-Jeanne Sirois
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Critic Reviews for Maelstrom
Not too far below the gloss you can still feel director Denis Villeneuve's beating heart and the fondness he has for his characters.
Most fish stories are a little peculiar, but this is one that should be thrown back in the river.
An oddity, to be sure, but one that you might wind up remembering with a degree of affection rather than revulsion.
An oddly affecting and often darkly funny drama about the randomness of life and the possibility of redemption.
The main story ... is compelling enough, but it's difficult to shrug off the annoyance of that chatty fish.
'Sophisticated' viewers who refuse to admit that they don't like it will likely call it 'challenging' to their fellow sophisticates.
This is a nervy, risky film, and Villeneuve has inspired Croze to give herself over completely to the tormented persona of Bibi.
Offers the flash of rock videos fused with solid performances and eerie atmosphere.
Maelstrom is strange and compelling, engrossing and different, a moral tale with a twisted sense of humor.
Sensual, funny and, in the end, very touching.
Observant intelligence constantly vies with pretension -- and sometimes plain wacky implausibility -- throughout Maelstrom.
[Villeneuve] seems to realize intuitively that even morality is reduced to an option by the ultimate mysteries of life and death.
I'll put it this way: If you're in the mood for a melodrama narrated by talking fish, this is the movie for you.
Villeneuve spends too much time wallowing in Bibi's generic angst (there are a lot of shots of her gazing out windows).
The overall story is one of intriguing insight and emotion, well-acted by the cast and ambitiously directed by Villeneuve.
Sucks you into its vortex with offbeat humor, moody photography, and -- despite some stylistic gimmickry -- scenes of surprising honesty.
Audience Reviews for Maelstrom
A young woman's life unravels when she has an abortion, then a few days later hits a pedestrian with her car and flees in a panic. MAELSTROM is not for anyone seeking a traditional narrative: it's an arty, surrealistic, impressionistic portrait of guilt, narrated by a fish telling the story with his last breath as he waits to be gutted and turned into seafood.More
As narrated by a fish with its head on the chopping block, "Maelstrom" starts with Bibi(Marie-Josee Croze) having an abortion. Afterwards, her best friend Claire(Stephanie Morgenstern) cares for her while she prays at the porcelain temple. Bibi's work life is not that much better as the Montreal boutique she owns with her partner Philippe(Bobby Beshro) has been having its share of thefts, causing them to hire security guards. That's not to mention the large amount of money she owes. And if you think she is having a bad day, imagine that of the guy(Klimbo) she hits with her car on the way home from a bar.
A short time ago, I mentioned that "Rubber" was the oddest movie I had seen in quite a while. That probably has something to do with the lack of Canadian movies I have seen lately. Because "Maelstrom" has it all, including occasional intertitles, a diverse musical score that leans Scandinavian, and a complex chronal storyline which adds perspective. All of which is not as heavy as it sounds.
At first, I was prepared to connect Denis Villeneuve's more recent feature "Incendies" to "Maelstrom" through a common theme of how all life is sacred. However, the truth could not be any more different, as the movie is edgily profound in how it states we are all part of the same cycle of life and death, so relax. Notice for example, how matter of factly the abortion scene is filmed, without any judgment, no less. That fits in well with the movie's intelligent thoughts on guilt and forgiveness, as Bibi has a hard time getting completely clean.
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