Father Of My Children (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/03/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 112 mins

Impressively directed and superbly written, this is an emotionally engaging drama with terrific performances from real life father and daughter Louis-Do and Alice de Lencquesaing.

What's it all about?
Inspired by the life and death of French film producer Humbert Balsan, Father of My Children is directed by Mia Hansen-Love and stars Louis-Do de Lencquesaing as beleaguered film producer Gregoire Canvel. The first half of the film follows Gregoire as he negotiates a series of problems on a variety of projects, such as averting a strike on a Swedish set and consoling a leading man whose wife has just had an affair.

However, despite his seemingly unflappable demeanour, Gregoire's company is on the verge of bankruptcy and his work is beginning to affect his family life. After a sudden tragedy in the mid-way point, the film shifts focus to Gregoire's wife Sylvia (Chiara Caselli) and their three daughters – teenager Clemence (Louis-Do's real-life daughter Alice de Lencquesaing) and pre-teens Valentine and Billie (Alice Gautier and Manelle Driss) – as they attempt to pick up the pieces.

The Good
The performances are excellent. Louis-Do de Lencquesaing is charismatic and engaging as Gregoire, while Alice de Lencquesaing makes a strong impression as Clemence, who makes some startling discoveries of her own. There's also strong support from Chiara Caselli and the scenes where Sylvia attempts to pick up where Gregoire left off are extremely well done.

The Great
The film is beautifully shot, with striking cinematography from Pascal Auffray, while Hansen-Love employs a fluid editing style that works well, drawing you into Gregoire's non-stop life (he seems permanently glued to his phone, to the point where it causes problems on a family holiday). She also orchestrates several powerful scenes that work all the better for being understated rather than sliding into sickly sentimentality (an American remake would be unthinkably hideous).

In addition, the dialogue is excellent, allowing the film to function both as an engaging insight into European filmmaking, a fascinating character study and a powerful exploration of grief.

Worth seeing?
In short, Father of My Children is a powerfully emotional drama with a strong script and terrific performances. Highly recommended.

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Father Of My Children (12A)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 19:51

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