Our Children [A Perdre la Raison]

"Extraordinary"

Our Children [A Perdre la Raison] Review


One of the most unsettling movies of the year, this sharply made drama shifts inexorably from blissful romance to something darkly horrific. It's so understated that it might alienate audiences who want everything carefully explained to them. But the problem is that we understand far too well why the story goes where it goes, and that makes it even more haunting.

Based on a true story, the film opens with a brief glimpse of a terrible family tragedy before flashing back to happier times. Now living in Belgium, Moroccan-born Mounir (Rahim) has a whirlwind romance with Murielle (Dequenne). After they get married, they move in with Mounir's friend Andre (Arestrup), a doctor who married Mounir's sister (Raoui) so she could get a European visa. As Mounir and Murielle have four children in quick succession, she struggles with their domestic situation, longing for a family home of their own. She even offers to move to Morocco to live near Mounir's mother (Belal). But Andre seems to have some strange hold over Mounir.

As the years pass, Murielle's quiet desperation grows inexorably, although the film's audience seem to be the only ones who notice. Dequenne's performance is a masterful depiction of submerged emotion as she struggles to quietly cope with Andre's passive-aggression and Mounir's cultural machismo. So as the tension rises, we react like her, clinging to happier moments and possibilities rather than face up to the raw facts. This wouldn't work as well as it does without the superior work from Rahim and Arestrup, who previously starred together memorably in A Prophet. They cleverly refuse to let their characters drift into any sort of stereotype.

Filmmaker Lafosse skilfully tells the story through Murielle's eyes, so we can't see all of the facts. Like her, we begin to doubt Mounir's stories of where he goes when he travels. And our suspicions grow about the nature of his relationship with Andre. It's only in the shocking final scene that Lafosse pulls back from Murielle's perspective, because by then we understand her a little too clearly and wish we didn't. Yes, this is masterfully confrontational filmmaking that doesn't let us rest easily on our own expectations and preconceptions. And in its careful depiction of one woman's fragility, it offers a vital, unforgettable lesson.

Rich Cline



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Production compaines: Versus Production, Samsa Film, Les films du Worso, Box Productions, Prime Time, BNP Paribas Fortis Film Fund, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), VOO, Vlaams Audiovisueel fonds, Belgacom, Le Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Fédéral de Belgique, Inver Invest, Fonds National de Soutien à la Production Audiovisuelle du Luxembourg, Eurimages, Canal+, Les Films du Losange, Filmcoopi Zürich, Media Programme of the European Community, O'Brother Distribution

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Joachim Lafosse

Producer: Jacques-Henri Bronckart, Olivier Bronckart

Starring: as Mounir, as André Pinget, as Murielle, Stéphane Bissot as Françoise, Mounia Raoui as Fatima, Claire Bodson as La femme policier hopital, Jean-Charles Hautera as Professeur Maryns, Daniel Feis as Le pianiste, Baya Belal as Rachida, Redouane Behache as Samir

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.