"In The Father of My Children French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve makes something oddly beautiful and complex from a basic comic template," writes Michael Koresky at indieWIRE. "A story of a workaholic dad who has an immensely difficult time juggling business and family, the film nevertheless takes its conventions in a unexpected direction.... Hansen-Løve, as it turns out, is less interested in charting the everyday frustrations of a man unable to mix his worlds; rather The Father of My Children becomes a portrait of crippling contemporary anxiety, both professional and familial, and the possibility that they may never be fully reconciled."
"Hansen-Løve, who I first remember seeing as an actress, portraying the beautiful young student who inherits a Joseph Beuys painting in Olivier Assayas's Late August, Early September, has clearly learned a thing or two from her mentors," blogs Tom Hall. "Her fluent, intimate camera and tonal mastery would be surprising and touching in a director twice her age.... As a portrait of the film production process, Hansen-Løve's film brings to mind the messy struggles of Assayas's Irma Vep, a company of hard-working, underpaid professionals working in cramped quarters and hoping to be a part of something special. Fortunately, in Hansen-Løve's hands, they have succeeded."
"I was genuinely startled by the turning point," the Chicago Reader's JR Jones tells us. "Can one fairly be accused of spoiling a movie for people who may never get a chance to see it? I'm not sure, but I'm not eager to find out.... It's a story of secrets and moral compromises, of coming to terms with a loved one's character flaws, of balancing one's artistic legacy against one's personal legacy. Of course, at this point I'm not really reviewing the movie at all - I'm just hyping it. But at least I didn't give away the plot."
"Father of My Children is largely about how life drifts by, and how we don't always leave the mark in the world that we'd hoped, and so Hansen-Løve resists the urge to over-dramatize or over-stress," writes Noel Murray at the AV Club. "Yet without a little brio, there's a lingering feeling of 'hmm, nothing's really happening here' to the movie."
James McNally has spoilers, but he's also got a recording of the e Q&A with producer David Thion.
Reviews from Cannes.
Update, 9/22: Nicolas Rapold for the L Magazine: "Father of My Children eventually feels a little too cut loose, but in its way it's one of the more realistic films about such desperate events to come along in a while."
Update, 9/24: Mike D'Angelo at Not Coming to a Theater Near You: "[I]ts overall structure is commendably bold - I felt a real sense of excitement at the midpoint, when the event I'd expected would be the film's downbeat climax took me by surprise, leaving me pleasantly baffled about just what I was watching.... While I'm still not quite on board with the trusted friends who consider her the Next Big Thing in European arthouse fare, I'm now looking eagerly forward to whatever comes next."