Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Engrossing True Story French Film
Based on true events, this French film tells a very dark tale indeed. It is about Andre (Niels Arestrup `War Horse' and `A Prophet') who plays a doctor who seems to have a soft spot for Algerians who want to escape to France to have a better future. He has married one for her convenience and then he sponsors her brother Mounir (Tahar Rahim `Free Men' and `also `A...
Published 8 months ago by Tommy Dooley

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a bleak picture
Having watched Our Children twice, I have to say I don't really like it. The subject is very bleak: a mother is so unhappy she ends up killing her four children. It is based on a news story in the Belgian papers, and it is not giving anything away to reveal this as the first scene is set after the catastrophe. The problem with such an extreme case is that is doesn't feel...
Published 4 months ago by schumann_bg


Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Engrossing True Story French Film, 2 Nov 2013
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
Based on true events, this French film tells a very dark tale indeed. It is about Andre (Niels Arestrup `War Horse' and `A Prophet') who plays a doctor who seems to have a soft spot for Algerians who want to escape to France to have a better future. He has married one for her convenience and then he sponsors her brother Mounir (Tahar Rahim `Free Men' and `also `A Prophet'). They seem to have a very close bond indeed so when Mounir announces he wants to marry a French woman, there is a moment of awkward friction.

This woman is school teacher Murielle played by the achingly beautiful Emilie Dequenne (`The Pack' and `Brotherhood of the wolf'). They waste absolutely no time in starting a family and Andre insists that they live with him. He sees himself as part of the larger family and what at first seems to be a loving and helpful man soon starts to be revealed as a manipulating and very controlling person indeed. As his influence grows so does the gap between the erstwhile love birds and it is only a matter of time before things will come to a head.

Director Joachim Lafosse has managed to make a harrowing true story be very watchable and engrossing with his portrayal of the inter relationships that make people act in a way they would never have meant to. All of the performances are excellent with Emilie Dequenne putting in an exceptional performance of a woman slowly coming unravelled; she seems to age as the film progresses. Issues around illegal immigration are touched upon but the morality is left for the viewer to decide. This was a co-production of companies in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland and is a case where too many cooks can make a rather excellent meal of a film altogether. This is no feel good film either, but with the subject matter it was never going to be. In French and Arabic with very good sub titles and a run time of 111 minutes all of which are put to excellent use - this is a film for lovers of European cinema and fans of Niels Arestrup who is also excellent in the slow burning role of a controlling dictator - highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understated And Powerful, 11 Nov 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
Anyone who knows of the (real-life) tragic events that befell Belgian wife and teacher, Genevieve Lhermitte, will realise that this 2012 film by Belgian Joachim Lafosse, whose film is based on said events, was never destined to be an easy watch (indeed, anyone who doesn't know this 'story' can probably deduce it from Lafosse's practise here of showing us the 'aftermath' - not a recommended practise, in my book - at the start of his film). I recently watched Our Children twice in the space of three days (a glutton for punishment, I hear you say) and, whilst on first viewing I felt that perhaps it was a little too clinical (or even too realistic?) for its own good in its depiction of a woman's emotional disintegration (reinforcing the comparison with Michael Haneke that has been made for the film), watching a second time I found it increasingly mesmerising, (of course) harrowing and compelling (causing me to raise a four star rating to five).

Whilst it would have been 'easier' for Lafosse to have fictionalised his tale (and not suffer challenges to the veracity of its depiction), nevertheless, for me, the film can be appreciated on its own merits - in particular, the naturalistic performances of his cast, newly married couple Émily Dequenne's Murielle and Tahar Rahim's Mounir plus Mounir's 'adopted step-father', benefactor and doctor Niels Arestrup's André Pinget, and their creation of an almost dream-like, but at the same time, frighteningly realistic, atmosphere in which Murielle becomes trapped in her own domestic nightmare. Of course, in his three 'stars' Lafosse struck gold. Reuniting Rahim and Arestrup from their pairing in A Prophet was a masterstroke - here, again, the two impress greatly, Rahim as the 'lover' torn between wife/domesticity and friend/father-figure; Arestrup as the 'well-meaning', softly-spoken, but brooding 'controller', whose shackles are raised at any threat to his 'adopted family'. But, best of all is Dequenne (an actress who first came to the film-world's attention via her performance in the Dardennes' brothers' 1999 film Rosetta) as the initially 'star-struck' lover, thence the increasingly nervy, insecure and marginalised 'outsider'.

Lafosse's film also features a prominent thread of 'culture clash', between Mounir's Moroccan Muslim and the French Murielle - with André's 'marriage of convenience' to Mounir's sister Fatima and thence that between Mounir's brother Samir and Murielle's brassy sister Françoise (an impressive Stéphane Bissot), plus associated language difficulties. But, for me, whilst this adds another interesting dimension to Lafosse's film, essentially, Murielle's predicament is (simply) a human one, irrespective of culture (indeed, Mounir's mother Rachida is one of Murielle's closest 'allies') - actually, the focus is around Murielle's lack of any supportive confidantes.

Style-wise, the film's atmosphere of Murielle's 'claustrophobic confinement' and lack of privacy is brilliantly accentuated by Lafosse's use of furtive camera positions and 'over the shoulder' shots (courtesy of cinematographer Jean-Françios Hensgens). Similarly, Lafosse's choice of a haunting classical soundtrack, featuring music by Haydn and Scarlatti, further exacerbates the increasing sense of doomed fatalism. A key (and devastating) scene is that of a driving Murielle tearfully singing along to a Julien Clerc song.

Certainly far from a 'barrel of laughs', then (there are virtually no lighter moments here - negating an obvious comparison with Loach or even the Dardennes), but certainly the most powerful film I have seen about female 'disintegration' since Michael Winterbottom's Jude and Terence Davies' The House Of Mirth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a bleak picture, 15 Mar 2014
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
Having watched Our Children twice, I have to say I don't really like it. The subject is very bleak: a mother is so unhappy she ends up killing her four children. It is based on a news story in the Belgian papers, and it is not giving anything away to reveal this as the first scene is set after the catastrophe. The problem with such an extreme case is that is doesn't feel representative of anything, but rather is an aberration for the viewer to try to explain. Generally it is my impression that these acts are a way of getting back at a partner, as it is hard to imagine a parent doing this, however desperate, except for that reason; otherwise they would have to be insane. In Joachim Lafosse's film, the husband is somewhat at fault, but does not act in such a way as to fuel such hatred. In spite of the discretion with which the final scenes are handled, it still feels misconceived and doesn't ring true. In French it is called À perdre la raison - To lose one's reason - but insanity is never really the issue, just pressure and misery.

The film deals with a number of issues - sham marriages to get a Belgian passport, genuine marriage between cultures, and the problem of having a third person living with the young couple without any means of ending this. And also of having a number of children in these circumstances. It could be read as a feminist film, in that the husband, Mounir, and his godfather, André, are neither of them particularly sympathetic, and show considerable cruelty towards Murielle, while she is completely trapped. Mounir is rather weak and macho, and André is appallingly controlling. I simply couldn't understand why he would be living with this couple on a permanent basis just because he had helped the young man, unless he was secretly in love with him, but this doesn't seem to be the case. Émilie Dequenne gives a raw, brave performance in a role that is at times a bit like A Woman Under The Influence, but with the crucial difference that Mabel in that film would never harm her children, and you feel that 100%. The director would not be putting something in the film that cannot but be sensationalist. At the opposite pole, it is no doubt influenced by Michael Haneke in its extremity and coldness of vision, which is all too fashionable in contemporary art cinema - a baleful trend, I think, but its success at Cannes shows this is out of synch with contemporary thinking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for everybody... But what a film!, 23 April 2014
By 
Lola (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
OMG what a shock! I am referring to the amazing performances, the believable chemistry between the actors playing Murielle (Emilie Dequenne) and Mounir (Tahar Rahim) (I cannot imagine a better ensemble for this film!), the love story, the emotions running wild (just below the surface), the excellent psychological study on families and relationship between men and women (artfully done by director Joachim Lafosse)... I came to see "Our Children" almost believing that this 2012 Belgian-French production was a light melodrama. Two hours later I gasped for breath. This film is based on a real-life incident. Wait till the end of the film for that phrase to struck home.

There is no question why Émilie Dequenne received a Best Actress award at the Cannes 2012 - she is simply magnificent. Dequenne does a great job showing her character's psychological states as she transgresses from a happy young woman about to marry her sweetheart to an emotionally distraught and depressed wreck who can hardly speak.

I don't want to say anything else and spoil the film (if you decide to watch it), but be prepared for a quietly violent drama that will both shock and affect you. Saying that, "Our children" is moving, engrossing and absorbing film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Concentrated and ambivalent love-story...", 6 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
Belgian screenwriter and director Joachim Lafosse`s fifth feature film which he co-wrote with French screenwriter Thomas Bidegain and Belgian screenwriter Matthieu Reynaert, is based on a real-life incident that took place in Brussels in 2007 where a 42-year-old woman killed her five children. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in Morocco and Belgium and is a France-Belgium-Luxembourg-Switzerland co-production which was produced by producers Jacques-Henri Bronckart and Olivier Bronckart. It tells the story about Mounir and Murielle, a couple in their late twenties who lives in Brussels, Belgium. Murielle is a Belgian elementary school teacher and Mounir, a Moroccan and former youth worker without a permanent residence certificate. After deciding to get married, Mounir shares the great news with his close friend André Pinget, a wealthy doctor who has been like a father to him through most of his childhood and helped him and his family in many ways. André gives Mounir a full-time job at his practice, let`s him and Murielle live with him in his apartment and Murielle and Mounir is happily married, but as time goes by André`s ways of making himself indispensable and his insisting involvement in their lives begins to stagnate their relationship.

Precisely and commandingly directed by Belgian filmmaker Joachim Lafosse, this somewhat biographical and fictional story which is narrated mostly from the female protagonist`s viewpoint, draws an intimate and nuanced portrayal of a Belgian teacher`s saint like suffering after marrying, becoming a mother and being second-rated by a husband who is more committed to honouring the wishes of his generous and demanding father figure. While notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, fine production design by production designer Anna Falguères, cinematography by Belgian cinematographer Jean-François Hensgens and realism, this narrative-driven and dialog-driven psychological drama triangle depicts an in a sense provocatively heartrending, due to its non-judgmental and empathic portrait of the main character, study of character and contains an efficient classical score which emphasizes the film`s tragic undertones.

This finely paced character piece about emigration, conflicting human relations, motherhood, mental exhaustion and paper marriage which is set in Brussels, Belgium during a summer in the early 21st century and which has been chosen as Belgium`s submission to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards in 2013, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, abrupt editing by film editor Sophie Vercruysse, substantial character development, the poignant and impressive acting performances by Belgian actress Émilie Dequenne who comes close to her unforgettable acting performance in the Dardenne brothers` "Rosetta" (1999) and the fine acting performances by French actors Niels Arestrup, Tahar Rahim and Belgian actress Stéphane Bissot. A concentrated and ambivalent love-story which gained, among other awards, the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Actress Émilie Dequenne at the 65th Cannes Film Festival in 2012.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars ‘Our Children’ is a quiet, delicately constructed drama, 2 Feb 2014
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
‘Our Children’ is an intimate study of a relationship between schoolteacher Murielle (Émilie Dequenne) and Mounir (Tahar Rahim), a recently qualified doctor. Mounir was adopted, along with his sister, by André (Niels Arestrup) who is himself a doctor in Belgium.

Little is known of Mounir’s families situation prior to his adoption by André who has provided him with a life previously incomprehensible in Morrocco. He’s often caught in André’s shadow and unable to make his own decisions for fear of betraying him.

The couple live with André, and have four children in quick succession. Murielle struggles with their domestic situation and longs for a family home of their own. They even contemplate moving to Morocco to live near Mounir’s mother. André has a subtle overpowering effect on everyone around him, he dotes on everyone and thinks he knows whats best. André’s passivity is so convincing that you wouldn’t think it was strange for him to accompany the couple on their honeymoon!

Dequenne, Rahim and Arestrup are all excellent, but the weak link to this film is that there is little history to the individuals which pose many questions. We know nothing of Murielles past to give us some context to why she behaves in the way that she does. Why did André adopt Mounir but not his younger brother? Little is mentioned of André’s relationship with Mounir’s sister, which is a story in itself.

‘Our Children’ is a quiet, delicately constructed drama showing the unconscious cruelty committed by individuals who believe they’re acting in the best interest of their family. The culpable trio seem incapable of foreseeing the consequences of their actions. Based on a true story, director Joachim LaFosse keeps the suspense to an absolute minimum so that when the appalling conclusion arrives it actually passes you by before you start to comprehend what has happened.

Rating: 7/10
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Heavy, 20 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
I liked how it captures the complexity in the couple, depression in her and immaturity in him.

It became too slow through out so much I lost interest.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important film, 10 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
Defosse's A la perdre raison is the best melodrama of the last year, an excoriating, penetrating look at the family and its assumptions in a time of feel-good cinema.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Our Children [DVD]
Our Children [DVD] by Joachim Lafosse (DVD - 2013)
£5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews