Year:  2023

Director:  Virginie Verrier

Release:  August 26, 2023

Running time: 95 minutes

Worth: $15.00
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Garance Marillier, Emilie Dequenne, Sylvie Testud, Fred Testot, Alban Lenoir

… will hold the crowd captive right up to the final whistle.

Marinette kicks-off in 1980 rural France. Petite fille Marinette Pichon is fixated on the local boys practising football (or more familiarly in Australia – at least until the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup – ‘soccer’). In a fortuitous moment, young Marinette is noticed watching with such intent that she’s invited to play by the coach, who makes the pertinent point to the boys: ‘she has two feet just like you’. Marinette’s athleticism wins instant respect and she’s soon kitted out in a ‘tomboy’ uniform of trackies and sneakers, with the support of her mother.

While the prodigious prowess displayed from 5 years of age onwards wins Marinette instant fans amongst team members and friends, her frequently slurring, sociopathic wreck of a father is not one of them.

Whether a dysfunctional upbringing motivates Marinette to kick harder, or if a dedication to sport fosters a strength to deal with challenging people and situations in life – is difficult to tell. A symbiosis is in fact shown, growing naturally out of a talent that derives from somewhere deeper within the individual. It is refreshing to observe how filmmaker Virginie Verrier resists the cliched, and often pushy, emphasis on hardship being the ultimate catalyst for success.

An engaging Garance Marillier (Titane) plays adult Marinette as a determined yet humble and amiable character, on a journey to realising a luminosity which ultimately obliterates all darkness.

Of many standout scenes in Marinette, significant turning points – finding her tribe in women’s soccer, showing off a trophy to mum in a coma, and a winning first same-sex love scene – bring the intimate connection with athlete as person. Classical goal montages serve to demonstrate the talent that would lead to real-life football trailblazer Marinette Pichon scoring 81 goals over 112 international games for France during her professional football career, setting the national record for female and male players combined.

Marinette is a sport-themed biopic that will hold the crowd captive right up to the final whistle.