sat 25/05/2024

More than Ever - an idyllic way of dying | reviews, news & interviews

More than Ever - an idyllic way of dying

More than Ever - an idyllic way of dying

Vicky Krieps gives a luminous performance as a young woman facing death

Almost blue, almost doing things we used to do...

We’re told from childhood that it’s rude to stare at people, but sometimes it’s hard to extinguish that desire and sitting in a dark cinema can provide the perfect opportunity. If seing Vicky Krieps in Hold Me Tight and Corsage left you craving more screen time with her, More than Ever might just satiate that yen. It’s another chance to allow this fine-featured, body-confident actor to show her emotional range to us watchers in the shadows.

Freed from constricting corsetry this time round, Krieps plays Hélène, whose happy life in Bordeaux with her husband Mattheiu (Gaspard Ulliel, pictured below) is overturned when she is diagnosed with an incurable lung disease.

Given this potential death sentence, Hélène’s mother, friends, and husband all want her to put her name down for a lung transplant. But the 50:50 odds of surviving and thriving after the procedure aren’t promising. Over two hours we get to observe Krieps portray a young woman evaluating  life and choosing her own fate.  

The first part of the film takes place in tightly shot city interiors. Hélène meets friends who don’t know how to share the news that they are pregnant when she’s terminally ill.

Everything is tense, graceless, painful. There are medical appointments, video conversations with already grieving family members, and awkward, intimate scenes at home with Matthieu. The camera rarely shifts from close ups; the movie at this point is intensely claustrophobic. 

It’s only when Hélène (pictured below) decides to travel alone to Norway that the lens changes. She’s made a connection online with Mister (Bjørn Floberg), a Norwegian blogger who writes philosophically and amusingly about his life with a fatal condition. When she packs up her oxygen cannula and heads alone to the fjørds, Matthieu is baffled and hurt but accepts her choice. We move from the gray interiors of Bordeaux to the blinding blue of summer in Norway.  

Writer-director Emily Atef, born in Berlin to French-Iranian parents, appears to have fallen in love with the Norwegian landscape as much as Hélène. Breathing in clean air and with no internet signal, she is removed from the tormenting anxieties of those who love her most. The fact that the waterside cabin she rents from Mister has no curtains on its windows while the midnight sun of summer makes sleep impossible, only brings her closer to him.

How Hélène resolves her relationship with Matthieu leads to the film’s tensest and most tender scenes. Watching these two perform together is made even more poignant by the knowledge that although Kriep's character is the one facing death, this was Gaspard Ulliel’s penultimate screen appearance before his fatal accident a year ago.

More than Ever is certainly not a fun-filled evening at the cinema but it's a well-crafted piece of film-making that will continue to resonate. 


How Hélène resolves her relationship with Matthieu leads to the film’s tensest and most tender scenes


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters