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

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.