THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN
Regardless of your opinions about the French you must recognize their legacy of accomplishments in the laurels of filmmaking. “The Father of My Children” is written and directed by Mia Hansen –Love (a prodigy, at twenty-nine this is her third film) based loosely on the life of Humbert Balsan a French film producer; the title implies a biography.
The first hour is flawless. The troubled and financially strapped film maker, Gregoire (Louis- Do de Lencquesaing) dashingly handsome, and desperately trying to balance his failing business, family obligations while consuming hundreds of cigarettes; totally convincing and captivating in the role; there is a suaveness that belies his gloomy plight.
The movie dazzles in the scenes he shares with his three daughters! The oldest Clemence (Alice De Lencquesaing, his daughter in real life) captures the angst and whimsy of a teenager; every day either the best or worst of her life. The two younger daughters, Valentine (Alice Gautier) and Billie (Manelle Driss) are luminously beautiful, enchanting sprites, the screen darkens with their absence. The love, joy and comfort they exhibit, so blindingly pure and lacking in pretense or artifice. It is rare to see such unblemished happiness, so faultlessly depicted. My heart ached with its poignancy.
Then, unfortunately a malaise, like an unexpected mist or fog, creeps into the second half of the film and plays havoc with our expectations; greatness vastly diminished.
I left the theatre feeling somewhat cheated, a dissatisfaction not easily described. Still for its moments of excellence: the vicissitudes and roadblocks most directors face in the creation of a film, the choices one makes and the resulting consequences, and above all, experiencing the unique and rarely seen family dynamics I give it………
THREE STARS!!! (OUT OF FIVE)
For Now ………..Peneflix.