The Father of My Children

Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)
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It was the death of Humbert Balsan, the original producer of young French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve’s first film, ‘Tout Est Pardonée’, that inspired the character of Grégoire Canvel (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), a handsome and cultured Parisian film producer with a beautiful wife (Chiara Caselli), three young children, an apartment in the city and a house in the country.

The superficial order and enviable comfort of Grégoire’s home life contrasts with the chaos of his film company, Moon Films, a struggling and passionate outfit where there’s not enough money in the bank or time in the day to satisfy the interests of both the arthouse filmmakers they produce and a growing list of creditors.

There’s a sadness at the core of Hansen-Løve’s impressive and moving second film, but it feels wrong to call it a tragedy, so gentle is her humanism and so light is her touch as a storyteller, both of which recall Eric Rohmer’s non-period films. The story involves a number of surprising, emotional twists (some too important to reveal), but the 29-year-old director’s brisk and breezy style is to avoid the melodramatic and move on, while planting feelings in our minds to consider at our leisure.

It’s a method familiar from her first film, in which she moved freely between characters in one family and was interested in their secrets and the bonds between a teenage girl and her parents. Here, her insistence on giving as much attention to the filmmaking process as emotions feels awkward at points, but the essence of the film is a welcome compassion and curiosity about inner lives.

Posted:

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday March 5 2010
Duration:
110 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Mia Hansen-Løve
Screenwriter:
Mia Hansen-Løve
Cast:
Chiara Caselli
Louis-Do de Lencquesaing
Alice de Lencquesaing

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
1 person listening

Found the film very absorbing. However, interesting to note that because we did not read the TimeOut review before watching the film, we did not realise until we saw the director's interview afterwards that it was based on real events. This resulted in the plot-line appearing rather unexceptional, with not particularly striking character development. Our main comment on the film as an end-product is that our enjoyment was reduced by the sparseness of the English sub-titles. Re, the other comments - sorry that Julie didn't enjoy it, However, her simile should have been "dull as ditchwater", not..."dishwater" - a common mistake!


David - I agree, what superb acting - I've never seen a more convincingly acted family with young kids on screen. Its a very intriguing film - you keep looking for a bit of irony, something to interpret, yet the story is unadorned - tragic, but never melodramatic. It felt fresh, like a style I was unfamiliar with (I dont think i've seen Rohmer films), a great acheivement for a second film, it was so assured. The children swimming in milky pools seemed to beg for the intimation of some menace, some horrible vulnerablity, but it turns out that the innocence and the beauty in those scenes was all there was. I felt almost sullied by my need to 'interpret' (too many Haneke films I fear). In the end I was entirely satisfied with a story beautifully well told.


David - I agree, what superb acting - I've never seen a more convincingly acted family with young kids on screen. Its a very intriguing film - you keep looking for a bit of irony, something to interpret, yet the story is unadorned - tragic, but never melodramatic. It felt fresh, like a style I was unfamiliar with (I dont think i've seen Rohmer films), a great acheivement for a second film, it was so assured. The children swimming in milky pools seemed to beg for the intimation of some menace, some horrible vulnerablity, but it turns out that the innocence and the beauty in those scenes was all there was. I felt almost sullied by my need to 'interpret' (too many Haneke films I fear). In the end I was entirely satisfied with a story beautifully well told.


Film making of the highest order.The fantastic ensemble acting put the Oscar nominees to shame.The story is pacey,and engrossing,yet never uses sentimentality to excess.The 3 children are an utter delight.The only slight problem l had was that it seemed highly improbable that anyone with 3 gorgeous kids,a nice apartment and country home as well as a beautiful wife would actually do what he did,as the film production company is trivial compared to his personal life.It is a great shame we Brits cannot make such high quality,non commercial,films,with such talented acting performances.