Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year and he opened the festival this year with ‘The Truth,’ his first non-Japanese film. This film is set in Paris, and the dialogue is in both French and English. Catherine Deneuve here stars as Fabienne, an old-school movie star who has just released her memoirs. At the beginning of the film, we see her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) arrive with her husband and daughter to celebrate the book’s launch, but when she starts reading the book she finds out that it contains a multitudes of lies, like her father being listed as dead, and, more alarming for her, that Fabienne has painted herself as a great mother. And the film goes through how everyone deals with that. For example, Fabienne’s long-doting assistant is not even mentioned, prompting him to quit, leaving Lumir to act as one while she is vacationing. This film is more an exercise in great effortless acting. Deneuve is delicious as the self-centered Fabienne, who, like any other actress out there, has no concept of reality. And Binoche can only be described for making us all believe that she is playing a woman who turns to screenplay writing because she is a terrible actress. We gleefully watch these two in action before we realize there isn’t much plot or story here. But for the most part, we don’t mind.
Do you ever wonder how Olivier Assayas would do a Woody Allen movie? Well wonder no more because he does just that in ‘Non-Fiction.’ This film is a funny film about relation ships in modern times, and about how social media and technology has affected how we deal and interact with each other nowadays. It is also a commentary about the French Publishing industry – how it tries to survive and thrive in these ever-changing times. But really, ‘Non-Fiction’ is abotu relationships, and how we navigate and circumvent what we know, who we love. My family always say I like movies that are ‘talkies,’ and this is certainly one that classifies as such. I think at times there’s too much talk here, and I am pretty sure I missed a lot of topical French references, but I love the great performances by all here, especially though Guillame Canet and Juliette Binoche (the latter I could watch do nothing on screen) I think this probably warrants a second viewing for me to fully grasp, but I would gladly do it.
I think Juliette Binoche is one of those under-appreciated actresses, although I think she does more in Europe than America, where she is mostly known for ‘The English Patient.’ Her charm is on perfect display on her film ‘Un Beau Soleil Interior,’ which has the English title of ‘Let The Sunshine In’ as it is released here in the States.
Set in Paris, Binoche is Isabelle, one of those chic ladies who is looking for love. She is in a couple of relationships, but nothing is hitting. We can all relate. Binoche gives this role her all – I an watch her just looking at paintings at a museum and I can feel a sense of what the character is, what it is feeling, what motivates it.
I wished I like the movie more. The character is written as whiny, even though Binoche obviously humanizes it more – and the men she gets herself involves with seem like the same exact characters. There’s a ‘surprise’ at the end that will leave you walking out on a high note, but it felt like a chore getting there. Still, I recommend this for Niinoche’s performance – where you will see a living breathing actress on top of her game.