6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Dark and Engrossing True Story French Film,
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.