Published Nov 04, 2010French cinema trumps all other efforts, and I will have words with anyone who says otherwise. There has to be a je-ne-sais-quoi gene encoded in the wine, cheese and baguettes that allows them to create complex, haunting films that never rely on tropes or stock shots to manipulate an audience. When a character grabs a gun, he doesn't do it with shifty glances about. When a wife learns of betrayal, there is no histrionic, violin-heavy soundtrack underscoring her bawl-fest. Offering dramatic narratives loaded with conflict, joy, sex and intelligent undertones left untouched for the audience to interpret, Mia Hansen-Løve's Father of My Children (Le père de mes enfants) easily follows in the footsteps of previous French masterpieces L'Enfant, Caché and Un Profète.
Grėgoire (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) is a charismatic film producer who has it all — a loving wife, three delightful children and a stimulating job — but riddled with debt and financial ruin, he secretly slides into despair, leaving his family to pick up the pieces and discover some uncomfortable truths.
Based upon French producer Humbert Balsan's life (who died suddenly in 2005), Hansen-Løve, who also wrote the screenplay, gives scenes of family routine and monotony an incandescent significance that resonates deep in the heart of this family drama. However, after horror befalls the family, the film drops off a bit, testing the audience's attention span. Secrets and lies are aplenty, but left largely unresolved, which may or may not be annoying
Also serving as a inside look into the cutthroat world of filmmaking and the unforgiving nature of the beast therein, Father of my Children is cleverly shot, with pure light, naturalistic dialogue, performances that feel as authentic as if they were improvised and a lovertine approach to Paris locals, affirming the value of the price of admission alone. (Mongrel Media)