She announces to her neighbors that her husband is arriving soon. Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) lives among the Westerners residing in Morocco in 1942. Her husband, Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), arrives. He meets her friends and they are sufficiently charmed. The couple go back to the apartment she rents for them. That’s when the coaching begins, because they are not really married—they have never even met before. Each is on assignment as a spy. He’s a part of Canadian intelligence. She’s a French resistance fighter. They have to convince those around them that they are husband and wife. The sexual tension between the supposedly married couple builds immediately, a little bit more on her part than his; he believes that acting on their desires would undermine their operation.
Once their assignment is over, he’s ordered to London. But now he’s in love and asks Marianne to marry him and join him in England. She does. They have a baby girl and all is well until he’s given the task of investigating his wife.
“Allied” is a truly outstanding movie and will become a film classic. First and foremost, it succeeds because Cotillard and Pitt rock together. They have more chemistry than Pfizer. Their banter is amusing. Max is supposed to be from Paris but Marianne dismisses his French as definitely Quebecois. As they sit outside on their first night in Morocco, aware that neighbors are watching, she guides him in appropriate couple behavior and says at this point we would laugh. He responds, “We’re married. Why would we laugh?”
Cotillard has sort of a Joan Crawford quality. She had to have a large presence in this role and she did. It would have been easy for her to have been overshadowed by this powerful story and her internationally known, top-of-his-game co-star, Pitt.
The screenplay written by Steve Knight is excellent. The characters are rich, the scenes flow fittingly from one to the next and drama and intrigue build steadily throughout the film.
I do have to take the filmmakers to task over diversity. Throughout the scenes of military operations in England, there were no Black servicemen. According to Timeline Museum there were 130,000 African-American troops in England during this film’s time period. And that does not include thousands of Caribbean soldiers. (By the way, there was a great deal of controversy among the white and Black American military forces over the British women’s attraction to these men they called the “Tan Yanks.”)
I will give “Allied” a D+ in cast diversity because it does feature a lesbian storyline.
“Allied” is a remarkable production. It gets our highest rating, “See It!.”
It’s rated R (for violence, some sexuality/nudity, language and brief drug use) and is 124 minutes in length.