Perceptive and subtle almost to a fault, Sophie Fillières’s If You Don’t, I Will gingerly metes out insights against their dramatic payoffs.
While you may be left craving more emotional fireworks than you get, Fillières’s intelligent film is accomplished in its portrayal of a marriage in crisis, the union’s last gasps rife with poignant exchanges. Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos are, as always, superb; they play Pierre and Pomme, a married couple whose fire seems fully extinguished.
In one crushing moment, Pierre asks Pomme why she slept in the study the previous night; when Pomme replies that she actually slept in bed next to him, a surprised Pierre explains that he had no idea. Fillières manages plenty of comic touches as well: After Pomme finds earrings she believes belong to her friend, Pierre forlornly informs her that they’re Pomme’s — he gifted them to her years ago. Incredulous, Pomme reminds Pierre that she doesn’t have pierced ears, to which he responds: “That’s why they were a bad gift.”
The film falters somewhat with a prolonged section in which Pomme decides to remain in the forest after hiking with Pierre, choosing to live in the woods rather than return home — the gesture’s metaphorical significance feels vague. Viewers may wish the third act paid off its affecting dramatic setup more explosively, but that aside, this feels like a breakup — painful, funny, deeply complex.