Custody (Jusqu'à la garde)
Cert: 15 Year: 2017 Length: 93 mins Language: French
It feels as though saying anything about this film's plot will give too much away; let's just say we are watching a custody battle between a soon-to-be-ex-married couple. This has been done many times before, from 'Kramer v Kramer' to 'A Separation' but, as Odie Henderson says in RogerEbert.com - "Watching 'Custody' I was reminded of one of Roger's tenets: "It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it." Writer/director Xavier Legrand's feature length debut is about a bitter custody battle, but he has chosen to execute his plot as a quiet, brutally relentless psychological thriller. 'Custody' filters the majority of its terror through Julien Besson (Thomas Gloria), the 10-year-old boy at the centre of his parents' vicious legal struggle. This device never feels exploitative, because as any child of divorce will tell you, the dissolution of one's parental unit is traumatic even when the split is amicable. And this is not an amicable split".
I can also tell you that the film starts in court, where Antoine Besson is arguing for joint custody of Julien whilst his soon-to-be-ex-wife is arguing against. Is Antoine the innocent husband whose wife has set his kids against him, or is he the violent person she claims..?
The acting of all the cast gets great reviews, especially Thomas Gloria - "he has a very expressive face that often fills the screen in silence while his body telegraphs the sad resignation of one who feels helpless" - Odie Henderson again - whilst Xavier Legrand's direction won him the Silver Lion at Venice: he "seems precariously adept at turning the screws of suspense" - Anthony Lane, New Yorker.
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