This film was previously reviewed as part of our Glasgow Film Festival coverage in March 2020.

As the truth becomes a more and more contentious issue in contemporary media, The Truth feels a throwback to a simpler time. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s first non-Japanese film follows an ageing film star (Catherine Deneuve) as her autobiography goes to print. Her screenwriter daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) arrives for an infrequent visit, accompanied by her daughter Charlotte (Clémentine Grenier) and actor husband Hank (Ethan Hawke). Tensions have no time to simmer – Lumir tears into the rose-tinted childhood Fabienne wrote for her, Fabienne finds her new co-star fascinatingly and infuriatingly like her deceased rival, and Hank nurses an inferiority complex over his television appearances.

The film does not necessarily tread new ground as these fireworks go off, but Kore-eda uses the uniformly excellent cast to their greatest strengths. Deneuve brings a self-aware wit to ageing actress Fabienne, simultaneously assured of her ruling position at home and on set while insecure in her legacy. As Lumir, Binoche captures the coexisting rage, pride, and self-deprecation that comes from growing out from under her mother’s large shadow. Their conversations are fraught with wilful misunderstandings and deflections, and Deneuve and Binoche convey years of resentments and one-upmanship underlying each barb.

As fits the title, every character has their version of their past, present, and future, and it is usually clear in script and direction when they bend reality to suit their whims and purposes. A few moments of ambiguity and hidden misdirection prove genuinely delightful, but no grand statement or greater subversion can be ascribed to these moments.

The Truth brings little new to the table as a family drama, but Deneuve, Binoche, and company are at the top of their game. It may not stick long in the memory, but there are worse ways to spend a couple hours than with another complicated cinematic family.



CAST: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke, Clémentine Grenier

DIRECTOR: Hirokazu Kore-eda

WRITER: Hirokazu Kore-eda

SYNOPSIS: The estranged daughter of an ageing film star returns home with her family as her mother releases her memoirs.