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Thursday, November 19, 2015

'Marie's Story' DVD: French Period Piece Version of 'The Miracle Worker'

MARIE'S STORY DVD & Online Streaming

Purveyor of top-notch international films Film Movement shows good instincts in making the 2014 family French docudrama "Marie's Story" a November 2015 selection for the top-notch DVD Film of the Month Club that Movement operates. The parallels between the Helen Keller story "The Miracle Worker" and this well-produced telling of the tale of 19th century nun Sister Marguerite trying to teach the initially feral titular tween make it very apt for popping into the DVD following Thanksgiving dinner, a.k.a. the home version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf."

The following SPOILER-LADEN YouTube clip of the "Marie" trailer nicely showcases the beauty of the film while including virtually every important scene in it.

Marie, whose deafness and blindness date back to her infancy, arrives at a (still-existing) Catholic-run school for the deaf only to quickly scurry up a tree. In one of the more humorous moments in the film, the mother superior almost as quickly sends Marguerite up after her. Other great humor comes in a scene in which Marguerite and her superior struggle to use the proper words while describing how to solve a problem like Marie.

The clever but plausible approach that Marguerite takes predictably initially fails, and the turning point is nicely understated. The gradual transformation (with hints of remaining savagery) make for good storytelling and awesomely highlight the "before and after" contrasts in Marie. This is most clear in two scenes in the dining hall of the school.

A scene in which the other students immediately take advantage of an opportunity to torment Marie provides the wonderfully cynical message that children are cruel despite the era in which they live and regardless of any handicaps that they possess. These "little rascals" will always pick on the weakest members of the pack.

The aforementioned elements of realism and cynicism make "Marie" a modern story that will captivate younger children, provide background news for teens using their phones to remain constantly connected to the outside world, and entertain adults.

The always-included (and always well-paired) bonus short film this time is "Motherly" from Iran. This one has a middle-aged blind woman using innocent passersby in a park to spy on her adult son and his girlfriend. This maternal concern relates to wanting to know if the girlfriend is attractive. The initial surprise in this 13-minute movie is unexpected, but the subsequent turn-of-events is more predictable. The latter does not diminish the quality of this entertaining film, which illustrates one international characteristic of mothers.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Marie" or "Motherly" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.