Tribeca 2023: Marinette

Directed by: Virgine Verrier
Distributed by: TBD


Written by Maria Athayde

“Marinette,” directed by Virginie Verrier, tells the story of French footballer Marinette Pichon over the course of 20 years. While the movie started promisingly, this biopic devolves into nothing more than a bad Wikipedia entry as Marinette’s story unfolds on screen. From the acting, direction, and screenplay, “Marinette” is an uninspired movie and a disservice to Pichon’s story, which in other hands might have worked brilliantly on screen.

The biopic revolves around the eponymous character, Marinette, played by Garance Marillier for the majority of the movie. We are introduced to Marinette in the 1980s as a child and the only girl in a boys’ football (soccer for Americans) team in her school. As the years progress, we get descriptions of the passage meant to contextualize where Marinette is in her home life and footballing journey. Specifically, we get title cards with a year and a bit of exposition. After a few minutes, we move on to the next title card, the next year and a bit more of exposition. This device is the major throughline for the entire duration of the movie, undercutting any more meaningful messages the director was trying to convey about the struggle women footballers have to be recognized in France.

Beyond this framing device, another problem I had with the movie is that it lacks the depth, tact, and vulnerability to capture Marinette’s journey, especially the complexities of her childhood and upbringing with an abusive and alcoholic father. The decision to depict her father so casually as a mustache-twirling villain undercuts what Marinette has to overcome to achieve her status as a footballing legend.

Perhaps the movie would have been better suited if it focused on a segment of Marinette’s life instead of trying to piece together 40 years into 96 minutes. This is especially evident in the last 5 to 10 minutes of the movie, where important life events are relegated to text on screen. Remarkably inauthentic and caricatured at every turn, “Marinette” does not do justice to the struggles and triumphs Marinette Pichon had to overcome to become the person she is today. I was incredibly disappointed that a worthy and fascinating story about football, self-discovery, and acceptance was completely wasted on this onscreen translation.

“Marinette” was screened as part of the 2023 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival.

You can follow Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde on LetterboxdSerializdTwitter, and view more of what she’s up to here.

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