The highs and lows of the Cannes Film Festival can be easily summed up by Grace of Monaco writer-producer Arash Amel’s first journey to the Croisette. It began with him sitting beside Alfonso Cuarón and Jane Campion while his movie premiered to a standing ovation…and ended with critics savaging the Nicole Kidman starrer for being silly and melodramatic. “It’s been a very eventful 24 hours, but I’m still hanging in there,” Amel said in a recent interview on EW Radio. When it comes to the Cannes roller coaster, “hanging in there” is an excellent strategy. Bennett Miller is back on top after his long-delayed Foxcatcher opened to rapturous reviews both for the film — which tells the disturbing true tale of millionaire murderer John du Pont and his attraction to U.S. wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz — and its leads Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, and Steve Carell. (The ex-Office star already has people talking Oscar.) Mike Leigh’s quieter but no less beloved Mr. Turner, featuring Timothy Spall as the eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner, debuted strong, as did David Michôd’s postapocalyptic drama The Rover, starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Yet the French are never afraid to boo, and boo they did for former Cannes darling Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter), who seems to have lost his touch with his most recent outing, a Ryan Reynolds thriller called The Captive.
As always, the festival (which runs through May 25) brought with it a frenzy of dealmaking. Paramount reportedly ponied up a record $20 million for the rights to The Story of Your Life, a not-yet-filmed sci-fi movie to star Amy Adams, while Harvey Weinstein threw down $12 million for the rights to Lion, the adaptation of Saroo Brierley’s novel A Long Way Home from The King’s Speech producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning.