By: Lydia Lucas
One of the biggest reasons why I will always support independent films is because independent films do not get made because a company wants to make money. They get made because somebody thought it was a good story. Because of this, you’re average independent film is almost always a step above the average blockbuster film in terms of artistic vision.
Marie’s Story is the epitome of films like this. It highlights the inherent empathetic nature of human beings through a character who has no reason to be empathetic. Marie (played by Ariana Rivoire) is a blind and deaf girl in 19th century France. Her parents are no longer able to care for her, so her father takes her to a convent school for deaf girls. At first the nuns turn her away, but Sister Marguerite (played by Isabelle Carré) has found her calling in the “fragile soul” of Marie.
Marguerite is incredibly persistent and determined to teach Marie how to be an independent person. She not only has to find a way to help Marie communicate, but she also has to socialize an almost-teenage girl. The task is not an easy one. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it might be one of the most difficult tasks imaginable. Within the story, it takes half a year for Marguerite to get a dress on Marie without any fuss. It takes a year for her to learn her first word.
One of the best scenes in the film is a testament to the pathos throughout. A couple of years after leaving her parents, they come to pay Marie a visit at the convent. The raw emotion between these three characters, that they are finally able to communicate with one another, was nothing short of astonishing to watch. All of the actors did incredible work in this film, but the acting in this particular scene really summed up a lot of the complications within the relationship of Marguerite and Marie. Marguerite refers to Marie as the “daughter of [her] soul,” and to see her face as she watches this beautiful soul with her “real” parents is simultaneously joyous and heartbreaking.
Ignore anyone who tells you that Marie’s Story is a French knockoff of The Miracle Worker. It is not, and to say that they are the same is almost offensive to the craft of storytelling. Marie’s Story shows the immense amount of strength that all humans possess. Through Marie’s transformation, it tells a story of love, loss, and the strength that those two things can give you.