Jacques Audiard's follow up to his 2009's "Un Prophete" though a step down from that highly acclaimed work is still an emotionally rich experience packed with outstanding performances. This at times difficult to watch gritty drama is for mature audiences and not the candy floss romance drama that one is used to. Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) is an unemployed drifter who has just been given sole custody of his son and seeks refuge at his sister's place in the south of France with the hope of beginning a new life there, the other central character being Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) who is a killer whale trainer. Ali finds a job as a bouncer at a local club where he runs in to Stephanie who gets caught in the middle of a scuffle. Their paths cross once again a few months later but now Stephanie's life has changed forever after a horrific accident at work has left her wheel chair bound. A relation ship slowly develops between the two which ultimately changes their lives forever. The relationship between an emotionally battered Ali and a physically battered Stephanie is brought out expertly by Audiard with several vignettes that touches the viewer in many ways. This is an actors film at the end of it all and the lead players give it their best. It is relieving to see Cotillard going back to her french roots for the first time since her Oscar win of 2008 after all the eye-candy roles that she's been doing in Hollywood. She truly is one of the finest actors of our generation and this performance proves that. My only grouse here was the characters felt a little underwritten, we do not really understand what Ali has been through to make him so immune to emotions at first and also not much is really know about Stephanie too. A lot is left to the viewer's imagination, otherwise this was a very satisfying experience.