And Anything But the Truth

The Truth (La verité, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2019)

Tucked away in the credits is the detail that the film that veteran actor, Fabienne Dangeville (Catherine Deneuve), is making with starlet Manon Lenoir (Manon Clavel), Memories of my Mother, is an adaptation of a short story by Ken Liu, in which a space-travelling mother visits her daughter every seven years.

I’d quite like to see that film, which is not to dis this one.

Dangeville’s son-in-law, Hank, a struggling American actor who may have a drink issue, is played by Ethan Hawke, possibly best known for the Before … movies, made every seven years with Julie Delpy.

Well, actually, every nine years, but Juliette Binoche as his wife and Dangeville’s daughter, Lumir, is not that far from the Delpy role. Hawke, to be honest, does little, but be awkward about how much French he speaks or understands.

The two of them are visiting their mother on the occasion of the publication of her autobiography, called, natch, The Truth, although it is plainly nothing but. Noses have been put out of joint, pasts libelled, and there is a dark secret from decades ago involving a rival actress.

Deneuve is, as you’d expect, radiant, as she’s been since The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. You never quite know when her character is helpless or actually just artful.

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