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The Truth • La Vérité •
Another warm drama
with witty undercurrents
Review by Rich
The Truth may not stand with Hirokazu
Kore-eda's best work, but it finds the writer-director revisiting familiar
themes with a typically sensitive touch. --Rotton
At 76, Catherine Deneuve can still
blow all-comers off a cinema screen, and she does exactly that in Hirokazu
Kore-eda's Truth, which playfully explores the vexed relationship between a
French film star and her daughter. --Irish
Japanese maestro Hirokazu
Kore-eda brings his gentle powers of observation to France for
another warm drama with witty undercurrents.
The film has an enjoyably
offhanded, relaxed tone, livened up with barbed dialog and spiky character
interaction that offer clever insight into the nature of family relationships.
And even if it feels rather slight, it's played to understated
perfection by gifted cast who fill each scene with telling details. Just as
outspoken veteran actress Fabienne (Deneuve) publishes her memoir The Truth, her New York-based screenwriter
daughter Lumir (Binoche) travels to Paris for a visit, accompanied
by her actor husband Hank (Hawke) and their observant daughter
Convinced her next movie, a
sci-fi drama about an ageless woman, will be a bomb, Fabienne
is unbothered by Lumir's annoyed reaction to the fibs in her
autobiography, such as neglecting to mention her loyal assistant
(Libolt) or claiming that Lumir's dad
(Van Hool) is dead. But then
Fabienne is a master at creating her own reality. "My memories,
my book," Fabienne says defiantly.
While prowling around the connections between these people,
Kore-eda's script quietly explores how unreliable memories can be, mainly
because we are always changing. The film within the film (which is based
on a short story by Ken Liu) cleverly toys with this idea using
darker drama and an offbeat premise. So Fabienne is taken aback
to meet the actress (Sagnier) who plays her character at age
38. Or the even younger actress (Clavel) playing her mother. Indeed, Kore-eda
is having fun with the surreal realities of a movie set,
subtly touching on bigger themes.
As always, Deneuve commands the screen, layering in
fascinating details as a woman who is blithely unapologetic. Binoche meets this with a
wonderfully textured turn that captures a range of emotions in her messy
relationship with her mother. These two women dance around each other in complex
ways, continually shifting roles. The supporting cast remains nicely
around the edges, with a standout role for Clavel as the young
actress playing the forever-young mother.
This isn't a film about big
family melodrama, but rather the microscopic details in lifelong relationships.
"Take better care of your entourage," says
Fabienne's partner Jacques (Crahay), who knows better than to ever share his
true opinions with her.
The catharsis in this film
isn't a giant one, but rather something finally spoken aloud with unexpected
ripples. It's a lovely story about the everyday accumulation of fiction we
accept about ourselves and each other.
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