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#TIFF19 Review: The Truth (Special Presentations)

September 9, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The first film that director Hirokazu Kore-eda has made outside of his native Japan, The Truth follows Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve), a veteran French actress who has just published an autobiography. The release of this book prompts Fabienne’s screenwriter daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) to visit her in Paris, travelling from her home in New York with her actor husband Hank (Ethan Hawke) and their own daughter in tow.

Lumir’s memory of her childhood is different from the version of events in Fabienne’s book, prompting her to confront her mother about the truth of her upbringing, rather than the version of it that she has chosen to prioritize. Fabienne is also in the process of shooting a sci-fi drama about an astronaut who lives in space to slow down her own aging, returning every seven years to see her daughter at different points in her life, a project that carries remarkable similarities to Fabienne’s own relationship with her daughter.

Following up his Palme d’Or-winning drama Shoplifters, The Truth is one of Kore-eda’s lightest and airiest films yet, and at times it actually feels like a bit of a farce. But the film still features the themes of family relationships that have defined much of his work, exploring ideas about the frailty of memory, the lies we choose to believe about ourselves, and how stories are often only as reliable as those telling them, making it hard to discern where “the truth” actually lies. Deneuve and Binoche carry the film with their solid performances, and as their mother and daughter characters clash, the film offers us the appealing opportunity to watch these two great French actresses go head to head.

Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche in The Truth

Public Screenings:

Monday, September 9th – 6:00 PM at Winter Garden Theatre

Tuesday, September 10th – 2:30 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Saturday, September 14th – 9:45 AM at Scotiabank Theatre

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