More Than Ever: Vicky Krieps & Gaspard Ulliel (in his Final Role) Facing Grievous Painful Dilemma (Cannes Film Fest 2022)

Vicky Krieps & Gaspard Ulliel In ‘More Than Ever’

The Match Factory

Director Emily Atef’s Cannes Un Certain Regard drama More Than Ever is a careful, fastidious, emotionally touching film about the impact of the impending death of a young woman on her longtime and loving boyfriend–and herself.

Vicky Krieps plays a woman in her early 30s suffering from fatal condition who travels from France to the fjords of Norway to try to come to terms with her condition.

The film revolves around the serious question of: Is she (or anyone) ever really ready to face her own demise before her expected time?

Sadly, it is the last feature to star the popular French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who died in a skiing accident on January 19. He had also played the young Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal Rising as well as the title character in the biopic Saint Laurent. Thus, the spectre of death sadly hangs over this film even more than it was supposed to.

Every element in Atef’s fifth feature is clearly planned and well thought through, though the film is not schematic. Helen’s lung ailment is very serious, and could possibly be best be dealt with via transplant–not an easy matter to arrange and far from guaranteed to succeed.

Afraid and uncertain, she’s annoyed by some of her boyfriend Mathieu’s argumentative reactions and outbursts.

In a long intimate scene, she initiates foreplay and wants to make love but she is suddenly and alarmingly overcome by a violent coughing fit.

Things don’t look good and Mathieu is not always sensitive to Helen’s needs and understandably fluctuating moods.

The director immerses the viewers in the great difficulty of facing such a predicament, both for the victim and for a young, healthy mate who understandably doesn’t know how to handle the challenge.

Mathieu can be annoying in his argumentative responses to some of her attitudes and needs.

Thus, after rejecting any immediate and radical medical treatment, she abruptly decides to go to a remote part of Norway to decompress and ponder her condition on her own. Resignedly, she concludes, “I don’t have a future anymore.”

If solitary escape to the edge of the world is what she’s looking for, Helen finds a secluded fjord on the Norwegian coast. The hut she stay in at Dalvsfiord resembles a cave, there’s no wi-fi, the water remains frigid in summer and sunrise is earlier than 5am.

The only local is a gruffly engaging older-timer (Bjorn Floberg), helps her out when needed and brings some welcome humor to the tale.

Things change, when Mathieu turns up. A slow-building and protracted lovemaking scene provides catalyst for the couple to connect again, and the film is basically silent in its last reel.

Though conventional, More Than Ever is always alert to the dynamics that flow from a turbulent situation that is deeply grievous and provokes situations no one can really be prepared to confront.

As ever, the wonderful actress Krieps (Phantom Thread) gives an astonishing performance in detail and complexity as a woman experiencing a grievous dilemma that is nothing short the dilemma of choosing between life and death