It takes a lot of patience to sit through the absurdities of this very French take on intricate relationships despite the fine casting and ambitious direction. “A Faithful Man” stars the appealing Louis Garrel, who also directs with an eye toward comedy.

At the outset Garrel as Abel is confronted by his girlfriend Marianne (appealing Laetitia Casta) telling him she has been having an affair with his friend Paul and is pregnant with Paul’s child. Abel takes it in wounded stride and leaves as ordered.

Time passes. Paul has died, and Abel thinks there is a new chance for him to take up where he left off with Marianne. Joseph, Marianne’s precocious and resentful young son (Joseph Engel), loves mysteries and tries to instill the idea in Abel that Marianne murdered Paul.

The situation is further complicated by Paul’s sister Eve (Lily-Rose Depp), who has long been hot for Abel and now makes her move. Thus Abel is in the middle, and there are developments to come in the screenplay written by the renowned and clever Jean-Claude Carrière and Garrel.

The problem is that after a while the interplay becomes tiresome, and the characters are not as interesting as the cast members who play them. They are a shallow lot, and it is difficult to care about them or their respective desires and complications. One can sigh and say “Ah, the French” and at least appreciate the acting and some of the winking comedy. A Kino Lorber release. Reviewed July 19, 2019.

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