Jacques Audiard's powerful and moving love story was named Best Film at this year's London Film Festival partly due, no doubt, to Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaert's compelling coupling.
This is a far cry from Audiard's A Prophet but he manages to ground it in realism and strip it of all possible sentimentality.
Cotillard gives the performance of her career to date as Stephanie who trains killer whales and loses both her legs during a show at Marineland.
She first meets Ali (Schoenaerts) when he comes to her rescue during a nightclub brawl.
Their paths cross again after her accident when they then become firm friends.
He has no qualms about sleeping with her and their first time together is as nerve-wracking for her as it is for the audience as it borders on voyeuristic.
She is beautiful and intelligent while he is dirt poor and helps her without patronising compassion or pity.
The special effects are truly impressive along with Cotillard's gripping interpretation as she comes to terms with her disability and her shattered hopes and dreams which are then revived by her relationship with Ali.
It is a rather fanciful premise but in the capable hands of Audiard and his exemplary cast it makes resounding sense.