The Besson couple divorce. To protect her son from a father she accuses of violence, Miriam asks for exclusive custody. The judge grants a shared custody to the father whom it considers abused. Taken as a hostage between his parents, Julien will do everything to prevent the worst.
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(Cannes 2017) Rarely has a film affected me so physically that I could barely breathe, and never before have I seen a film where - on more than one occasion - I instinctively reached out to the screen in an effort to save the characters. An unflinching look at domestic violence: psychological violence (games), emotional violence (passive aggression), as well as physical, with standout performances all round.
First and foremost, the director smartly uses a very strong story about violent emotions to show desperation and points of view. In the first part the viewer is never let alone with just one character, and the movie only takes sides in the second half. Anxiety and uneasiness build up by the minute, to a climax. Minor stories go on, as in life most people go on and notice nothing until it's too late.
What bothered me most was the father as moral monster, a characterization choice that turned the film from realist drama to horror. Yet for all its horror it feels no less real; and the anchor of believability is nowhere more than in Julien's half-stoic face: wherein the inscription of an inexpressible weight of psychic violence upon the surface of a complex negotiation of impossible emotional terrain.
Bouleversant, juste, précis, d'un réel inouïe. Une violence émotionnelle rare. Je l'ai vu il y a un mois et j'en ai encore des frissons.
Moving, so accurate, so real. of a rare emotional violence, I saw it a month ago, and I still have goose bumps.