There are few names and entities as iconic as one Marilyn Monroe. Be it her status as the most beautiful woman to ever walk this planet, or as a woman who strived to be the absolute best at whatever her heart sent her to do, very few people lived as storied, and come her end as tragic, a life as the actress, model, singer, and legend. However, her inspiration hasn’t been just in women aping her image or in biographies and biopics. Apparently, some filmmakers have decided to take the Marilyn story, and use it as what it aesthetically appears to be: a modern day fable.
Nobody Else But You tells the story of a writer who, in hopes of overcoming a crippling case of writer’s block, decides to try and solve the mysterious death of a local model. Since her death took place in the space between boarders, in a ‘no man’s land’ of sorts, the case was closed immediately, allowing for our lead to try and go in and clean it up himself. And as we delve through this story, we learn to realize just how parallel the narrative is to that of the life, times and death of one Marilyn Monroe.
Starring the pair of Jean-Paul Rouve and Sophie Quinton, the film’s greatest aspect is easily its impeccable performances. Rouve is great here as our obsessive author, giving the film a distinct sense of realism that a surreal piece of cinematic experimentation such as this desperately needs. His obsession with the story feels palpable, and with such an eye grabbing focus as this woman’s death, it’s hard not to get emotionally involved as well. Quinton is great here as the mysterious Martine Langevin, giving a performance that is equal parts homage to Monroe, as well as its own distinct beast. She has the look and feel, but more importantly, she has the sense of melancholy that not only bleeds throughout the film itself, but also found itself stuck right in the heart of its source.
Gerald Hustache-Mathieu directs the film from a script he wrote with help from one Juliette Sales, and is a level all his own. Taking stylistic cues from directors ranging from David Lynch (whose ‘woman in trouble’ series of films is inescapable when watching this piece) to Luis Bunuel, the film itself is extremely surreal, playing as if Bunuel were behind a film like Zodiac. The film is lusciously shot and blackly comedic, often getting uttered alongside a film like Fargo, or other Coen Brothers features. Now, while it’s only comparable to those films superficially, this is a film all its own, that when taken amongst the various summer blockbusters, is an experimental breath of fresh air. The flashback sequences are stylized with a great, dream-like sense of style, proving that while director Hustache-Mathieu may in fact be a relatively green filmmaker (having only two other features to his name), his hand is so strong and deft, that this is an exercise in style.
A tad overlong, a tad cliché (only so many quirky small town civilians can a great film feature) and a tad intellectually slight, Nobody Else But You is a duel character study about people who let their worlds define and rule what they either are becoming, or ultimately became. Told through a surreal lens, this modern day re-telling of the Marilyn Monroe story turns her life and death into what it in many ways has become: a myth. And you know what? One couldn’t have asked for more.