By Jonathon Sharp

Did you know Marilyn Monroe wrote poetry?

Her work (short poems written in pencil) wasn’t bad. She wasn’t a genius or a Hollywood Sylvia Plath, but she knew her subjects: loneliness, doubt, a schism in the self.

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Here are two of her lines:

Only parts of us will ever
touch only parts of others

The words might be used to describe intimate situations, or the degree to which one might know another. They could also describe Nobody Else But You, a movie that deals quite a lot with that starlet’s personality, beauty and tragedy.

From its first images of a Monroe nude playing with silk in sunlight, the movie unfolds like a tease. It greets you with uncertainty. Characters are shady, and you can’t quite trust what you see. For instance, is the dead blonde beauty on the morgue slab somehow speaking over a scene in which a stranger searchers her body for clues? Is she lamenting that now, after she’s dead, she’s finally found a good man?


But let’s start with some basics. The movie’s plot centers on the death of Candice Lecoeur (Sophie Quinton), a small-time French model who might or might not be a reincarnated Monroe. She’s found dead in a snowy wilderness near the Swiss Alps with a bottle of blue pills, and local authorities quickly mark her down as a suicide.

But when a Parisian writer named Rousseau (Jean-Paul Rouve) picks up the scent of his next novel, a mystery begins to unravel. Layer by layer, this unraveling is sexy, fun, sad, seemingly supernatural and sometimes thrilling.

Literature is the primary means by which Rousseau, a best-selling mystery author, investigates Candice’s passing. Her journals show that since she was 13, she knew she could take a $2 swimsuit and make it sing. But though she could command the attention of eyes, camera lens and eventually TV audiences, her relationships were tragedies.

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A string of examples: a professional athlete with violent tendencies; a book critic with which she could not conceive; a man of political power to whom she was a trophy. (She the resemblance?)

And after these, she dies.

Like Monroe’s poems, these journals, which function as flashback devices, show Candice as troubled, pill-popping and contemplative whenever she steps out of the spotlight. However, these journals don’t just fall into the writer’s lap. He snoops for them, breaks into houses and befriends a policeman in order to meddle in the politics of the sleepy, snowy town.

This Scooby-Doo work allows the movie a salted-caramel quality. For the salt, you’ve got Candice’s tragedy. But for the caramel, there’s the antics of Rousseau’s search, his imaging of Candice’s butterscotch beauty and his eventual falling in love with the Monroe-creature through some literary necromancy.

It’s an all-over-the-place bittersweet.

As its title suggests, Nobody Else But You is, essentially, about longing. And depending what character you’re considering, it could be for truth, inspiration, identity or a good story. But the sense of desperation in the phrase makes it sound romantic, in a dark way. And it ends up being kind of funny that Candice and Rousseau can only be together in part, recalling the words:

Only parts of us will ever
touch only parts of others

The movie is written and directed by Gérald Hustache-Mathieu. It contains nudity (with noted, surprising parity).

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It’s playing at the Lagoon.

(credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Jonathon Sharp