The Truth

May 6, 2020

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If you like complex human studies directed and realised with the utmost finesse, make sure you put this one on your holiday viewing list.
truth

The Truth

Julian Wood
Year: 2019
Rating: PG
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast:

Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, Ethan Hawke, Ludivine Sagnier

Distributor: Palace
Format:
Released: Out Now
Running Time: 107 minutes
Worth: $19.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

If you like complex human studies directed and realised with the utmost finesse, make sure you put this one on your holiday viewing list.

Who should have ownership over their own story? And, what if the telling of your story upsets significant others or even causes harms? These are some of the areas tackled in a delicate and searching way in this fine French film. When we say French, we should also recall that it is made by a Japanese filmmaker. Hirokazu Kore-eda scooped the top prize at Cannes in 2018 with his delightful offbeat family drama The Shoplifters. He also made the devastatingly simple but effective Like Father Like Son (2013). This is his first film in France and, despite not speaking French, he has garnered a start cast including Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche.

Deneuve plays Grand Dame actress Fabienne who is revered in French cinema (so perfectly cast then). She is both neurotic and needy and sometimes completely impossible, but she inspires people nonetheless. She has just written a bestselling autobiography which, like all such documents, is part truth telling and part justification.

Fabienne’s long-suffering daughter Lumir (Binoche) flies back to France with her American husband Hank (Ethan Hawke). They all converge at a French chateau for celebrations and sturm and drang. Fabienne is not actually consumed by guilt about putting her career before mothering (perhaps she is too selfish to do that), but nor is she just an egotistical diva. Lumir herself has a child now and the themes of never being a good enough parent, especially with the demands of showbiz/art, reverberate throughout.

In one of many delightful scenes, Fabienne stays up late one night spilling the beans to the hapless but willing outsider Hank, fully aware that he doesn’t really speak enough French to understand her confessions.

Kore-eda, is such a deceptively artful director. The film appears to be just ambling along at times but the arc of each character’s development (or sometimes where they are stuck) unfolds in the most satisfying way. All his films bear repeated viewings to get their riches. It obviously helps that he has such strong leads. Deneuve shows real range here and is genuinely moving when she reverts to the vulnerability that she had blinded herself to for so long. Binoche (who suggested the project to the director) is content to play second fiddle, but she too commits to her role in a way that makes Lumir seem both the archetypal child overshadowed by a brilliant parent and someone with her own contradictions.

If you like complex human studies directed and realised with the utmost finesse, make sure you put this one on your holiday viewing list.

Comments

  1. Phil Gibb

    19/20!! More like 19/40. Occassionally witty but generally turgid script which the cast handled well. Too much emphasis on the Deneuve character and not enough on the troubled Binoche daughter role. Somewher something got lost between the Japanese director, the mainly French cast and the English subtitles, Shoplifters was superb in comparison to this overlong undertaking

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