Japanese master dramatist Hirokazu Kore-eda slides gracefully into the annals of French film history with his first feature to be made outside of his homeland, boasting no less than the inaugural pairing of icons Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche.
Playing an equally luminous, if far more imperious version of herself, Deneuve is superb as the prickly Fabienne, a legendary actress about to publish her memoirs. Arriving in Paris for the book launch is screenwriter daughter Lumir (Binoche), second-rate TV actor husband Hank (Ethan Hawke) and their little girl. All appear not as close to Fabienne as her writings suggest.
Meanwhile, Kore-eda’s interests in memory and familial resentment shimmer in the reflective surfaces of the sci-fi movie Fabienne is shooting, about a mother-daughter relationship age-inverted by the time dilation effects of space. It’s a pleasure to witness this dynamic further mirrored in the exchanges between Deneuve and Binoche, among the finest performers of their respective generations, here revelling in the subtle and not-so-subtle friction of their mingling screen personas.
“A fascinating exploration of the fallibility of memory and of how the truths we tell ourselves so frequently outweigh an empirical certainty.” ~Alonso Duralde, TheWrap
“From first shot to last, it’s a film of high wit and confidence and verve, an astonishingly fluid and accomplished act of boundary-leaping.” ~Owen Gleiberman, Variety