The Father of My Children
Time Out says
The late film producer Humbert Balsan—who shepherded work by Claire Denis, James Ivory, Bla Tarr and others—is the acknowledged model for Grgoire Canvel (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), the charismatic center of this affecting family drama. He runs a seemingly thriving production company and has a family who loves him despite the long hours and constant business calls. But some problems that were once easily ignored now threaten to overwhelm his work and life.
Writer-director Mia Hansen-Lve is telling two stories here: The first is a concentrated, slow-burn tale of personal self-destruction, while the second is an anecdotal, perceptive study of a family dealing with tragedy. Grgoire’s section is gripping, but contrived: Hansen-Lve relies too strongly on De Lencquesaing’s magnetism to patch over holes in the character’s psychology, and the fateful decision he makes at the film’s midpoint feels like a cheap transitional ploy. But when The Father of My Children shifts focus to Grgoire’s wife (Caselli) and children (the eldest is beautifully played by De Lencquesaing’s actual daughter, Alice), Hansen-Lve’s hand steadies, and she reveals a true talent for intimate, behavioral observation. These small moments accumulate and build to a moving final scene somewhat tempered by the fact that this is only half a great movie.—Keith Uhlich
Watch the trailer