Acclaimed Japanese director Horkazu Kore-eda, the filmmaker behind Shoplifters and Like Father, Like Son delivers his first film not in his native language with the family drama, The Truth.
The films of Hirokazu Kore-eda have, for the most part, dealt with the dysfunctionally functional ties that bind families together. For this first film not in Japanese, those themes remain very much the point of interest, it’s just that the canvas has changed to the home of an old French film star and the rather pragmatic relationship she has with her only daughter.
The film star in question is Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve), an icon of French cinema and beloved by her fans. Upon the release of her memoir, her daughter, Lumir (Juliette Binoche) comes back from America with her family for the first time since her wedding to both reconnect with her mother and call her out on some of the fabrications found within the pages of the memoir.
Much of Kore-eda’s work is very unassuming, and it is through a gentle pace that his work often finds ways to sneak up on you to emotionally devastating effect. The Truth doesn’t quite operate in that fashion. It is a film that is a little more acidic than some of Kore-eda’s other work, with the central relationship between the mother and daughter seemingly approaching a place of compassion and warmth, only for it to be cheekily undercut by one of them trying to best the other in their on-going game of emotional manipulation.
Full review at THN, originally published March 20th 2020.