As a fan of Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, known for award-winning films like “Like Father Like Son” and “Shoplifters,” the anticipation for his latest creation, “La Vérité” (The Truth), was palpable. Departing from his usual Japanese settings, Kore-eda ventures into a new territory, telling a French story set amidst the enchanting backdrop of Paris. The film boasts an impressive cast, with familiar names like Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, and Ethan Hawke gracing the screen.
” La Vérité ” – A Captivating Portrayal of Mother-Daughter Dynamics
“La Vérité” doesn’t aim for grand ambitions like its predecessors, such as “The Third Murder” which delved into philosophical questions about law and humanity or “Shoplifters” which explored the human condition at the fringes of society. Instead, it presents a smaller, intimate narrative revolving around the tumultuous relationship between Fabienne, a renowned late-night movie actress, and her daughter Lumir, a screenwriter married to a B-list American actress.
Both Fabienne and Lumir possess strong egos, particularly Fabienne, whose narcissism runs deep. Whenever they engage in conversation, Fabienne’s remarks can be sarcastic, cutting, and even demeaning, seemingly exposing the vulnerabilities of her daughter.
Despite its lack of grand ambition, “La Vérité” is a triumph in showcasing Kore-eda’s inherent strengths: delicately depicting the subtle fluctuations in human relationships, conflicts in daily life, and the complexities of family stories. The film particularly shines as a celebration of femininity, where women’s narratives take center stage, while men merely serve as background characters to their performances.
The Magnetic Charm of Flawed Characters
Fabienne, an unfaithful wife to her ex-husbands and a less-than-stellar mother, proudly prioritizes being a great actress over being a good mother. In her eyes, being a bad mother is forgivable, but being a bad actress is not. At 70 years old, Fabienne behaves like a temperamental young star, gossiping about her colleagues, envious of rising talent, and disgruntled when overlooked or not praised enough. She lives as if the world revolves around her and loves to assert her authority at all times, often criticizing her younger counterparts for being ambitious, even though she herself used her charms to secure roles in her youth.
Fabienne is a character full of flaws, guilt, and a hint of superficiality, yet there is a magnetic charm in her portrayal that draws us to witness her psychological journey, even as Catherine Deneuve’s charisma may have waned over the years. She becomes a captivating blend of a blushing young girl trapped within the aging body of a woman.
The role of the narcissistic star is a familiar one in cinema, but Deneuve’s performance breathes life into it, making it vivid and strangely captivating. The film lacks an elaborate plot; instead, it revolves around daily dialogues and petty quarrels, brought to life by the masterful interplay between Deneuve and Binoche, leaving viewers enthralled. Some might find the film slow-paced, lacking a climactic moment, or even a bit clichéd in its exploration of family conflicts. However, for those like myself who appreciate deep character psychology, “La Vérité” stands as a precious gem that only a talented director like Kore-eda can unveil with such grace.
Editor Le Hoai