An ageing woman and her nurse develop a friendship that inspires her to unearth unacknowledged longing and thus help her make peace with her past.
Writer/Dir: Marianne Farley | Producer: Marie-Hélène Panisset | Cast: Béatrice Picard and Sandrine Bisson.
Is it safe to say that the majority of us have missed out on opportunities that could have enriched our lives or, at the very least, led us down paths quite unlike the road we travel now? Truth be told in hindsight nothing is ever certain – but to look back on one’s life is to look back at the choices we did and didn’t make ultimately placing us where we are at this very moment.
Marguerite is a moment of stillness and pondering for the ‘what might have been’, a brief longing for a life unlived. For the titular character, now on the fringes of her life, we’re free make assumptions. We meet Marguerite as she’s bathed by her much younger and alluring carer. A crucifix around her neck and a visage akin to that of a pious aging sunday school teacher, Marguerite is battling an increasingly debilitating fight with diabetes, but against the warnings of her carer she’s resolute to accept medical care and ready for life’s end. After much ruminating through scenes of a life now bound by mundane routine and not much else, it’s immediately clear to the audience how much Marguerite adores her carer. It’s a little sad, she has no one else it seems, but then it’s curious – why is she staring at her for so long?
When her carer reveals she is a relationship with a woman, it’s uncertain if her uncomfortable glances and hesitant questions are down to an aversion to modern living and ‘liberal’ values but Marguerite is a welcomed anomaly – a woman who perhaps missed out on a life she was never entitled to live in the first place. We’re left wondering, if we could go back and do it all again, how much of the constraints and limitations of our environment would allow us to change anyway? Is this ok, and how do we reconcile with knowing there is nothing much we can do?
A beautiful french film, minimal in dialogue and action but with a score and movement so poetically translated onto screen, Marguerite is a small comfort to the privileges we have now and a glaringly sobering look at opportunities we will undoubtedly miss out on in the future.