A film by Xavier Legrand
Cast: Léa Drucker, Denis Ménochet, Thomas Gioria
The couple Besson divorce. To protect her son from a father whom she accuses of violence, Miriam demands sole custody. The judge in charge of the case grants shared custody to the father whom she considers to be flouted. Held hostage between his parents, Julien will do everything to prevent the worst from happening.
This first feature is a master piece and a stroke of genius . Xavier Legrand exceeds the conventions of a social issue and offers a clean film with a stifling atmosphere, which really takes guts. Xavier Legrand had been noticed by a short film, Avant de tout perdre (2014), Oscar nominated and winning the caesar. His first film here is beautiful it is like watching a ballet everything fall into place and the story is told perfectly well. It got noticed all over Europe very quickly. Is a matter a fact LeGrand has won the Silver Lion for Best Director in Venice. The story is fluid and dark it even fells like a film neo-noir.
The first scene takes place in a magistrate’s court, the lawyers of estranged couple Miriam (Léa Drucker) and Antoine (Denis Ménochet) debate their clients’ parental rights. Miriam is pushing for sole custody of their 12-year-old son Julien (Thomas Gioria), accusing Antoine of intimidation as well as violence against their older daughter Josephine (Mathilde Auneveux). There is a lot of dialogue in the first scene which in cinema we are not used too. Is Antoine really this jealous and possessive of his former spouse who puts pressure on his ex and his children? Does Miriam do too much in the role of the victim, to the point of wanting to prevent a father from showing his love for his son and his daughter? And why was the medical certificate confirming the injury of the young Josephine signed by the only school nurse? Those are the questions that you are going to ask yourself. Everyone has their reasons. The director here does not let up the tension that is going to build thought out the film and who is going to blow out toward the end. You do not know where is it going, you are going to guess and be surprise of the outcome. Thomas Gioria the child actor here shines big time. The other actors are perfectly cast and do they deliver a stunning performance. Denis Ménochet here is glad to work in French because lately he has done more film in England than France. If I was not bilingual he says in an interview I don’t know where my career would be today. Here is a film that you can not afford to miss.