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Custody

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Custódia Partilhada
©DR
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

All the madness and melancholy of a family breaking apart is condensed into Xavier Legrand's striking drama.

A father-son drama for anyone who finds ‘There Will Be Blood’ too cosy in its depiction of paternal love, ‘Custody’ is a bleakly intimate and terrifically sad look at a splintered family in freefall. The only thing that isn’t moving about French director Xavier Legrand’s depiction of a bitter custody battle is the eerily still camera keeping its characters under a steady gaze. It’s unblinking in a Dardenne-ish way and often hard to watch, with the emotional toll playing on its characters’ faces. The ending is a floorer too.

Legrand has spun out his own Oscar-nominated short, ‘Just Before Losing Everything’, into a domestic drama that boils with pain and anger. Reprising their roles are Léa Drucker and Denis Ménochet as a couple tussling for custody of 11-year-old Julien (Thomas Gloria). Their daughter (Mathilde Auneveux), on the cusp of adulthood, has a chance to escape the shadow of their abusive, needy dad. The spiky, sensitive Julien isn’t so lucky, forced to spend afternoons in his lunkish father’s almost comically small van. 

Once a child actor himself, Legrand coaxes a heartbreaking turn from Gloria as a kid trapped in an impossible situation. His father, despite claiming to be a reformed character, is clearly a ticking time-bomb. Mum is simply fraught. You’re left wondering how the courts could have let this combustible situation happen. Maybe just this once, society is to blame. 

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 13 April 2018
  • Duration:94 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Xavier Legrand
  • Cast:
    • Denis Menochet
    • Léa Drucker
    • Thomas Gloria
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