Robust review – Gérard Depardieu at his larger-than-life best

The oversized screen presence of Gérard Depardieu, an actor who comes with baggage to match his bulk, is smartly harnessed in this impressive feature debut from Constance Meyer. Depardieu plays Georges, a celebrated French actor with the appetite of an ogre, a tendency to crash motorbikes and a self-destructive kind of genius that is frequently diluted by endless bottles of wine. The role, in other words, that Depardieu has arguably been playing for most of his life.

Starring opposite him is the compelling Déborah Lukumuena, who plays Aïssa, the self-possessed young female security guard with whom Georges forms a complicated friendship.

Balancing moments of affectionate humour at Georges’s expense with empathy for the emptiness inside the star who, on paper, has everything (including a tank full of repulsive deep-water fish), this is a deft and refreshingly understated piece of film-making from Meyer. Much is left unsaid and unshown, but the dynamic between Georges and Aïssa is persuasively fleshed out.