(Release Info London schedule; March 8th, 2020, Curzon Richmond, 3 Water Ln, Richmond TW9 1TJ, United Kingdom, 11:00am)
Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) is a much loved, larger-than-life icon of French cinema. She reigns amongst men who love and admire her. She despites her momentary lapses in memory, remains a venerable force to be reckoned with. When she publishes her memoirs, her screenwriter daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) returns from New York to Paris with her struggling actor husband Hank (Ethan Hawke) and their inquisitive young daughter Charlotte (Clémentine Grenier); for the occasion, with her in tow. A sharp and funny battle of wits ensues between the mother-daughter duo, as Lumir takes issue with Fabienne's rose-colored version of the past. It comes as no surprise to Lumir that everything in her grand childhood home still revolves around her mother, and as she begins to read Fabienne’s book it becomes clear it’s riddled with omissions and embellishments, especially with regard to her relationship with the great artistic rival of her past, Sarah Mondavan (Manon Clavel). The reunion between mother and daughter will quickly turn to confrontation: truths will be told, accounts settled, loves and resentments confessed. Fabienne herself has no time for explanations and small talk; she’s preparing for her next film, a science-fiction drama. Reflected cleverly by Fabienne's latest role in a sci-fi drama, their strained relationship takes a poignant journey toward possible reconciliation. When Fabienne’s long-suffering assistant unexpectedly quits, she and Lumir are reluctantly forced into an awkward working relationship, with Lumir revisiting the same film studios where she spent countless hours as a child. Fabienne is shooting her newest film, "Memories of My Mother", and the on-screen and on-set worlds become increasingly and amusingly intertwined in this shrewd exploration of reality and fiction, family and forgiveness. As the on and off-set worlds begin to amusingly, and movingly, intertwine, suppressed emotions can no longer be kept in check. Fabienne’s projects act as a catalyst, forcing the women to face long-buried, painful truths, a confrontation that will either bring them closer or rupture their relationship completely.
The film tells the story of a cinema actress and her daughter who gave up her dreams of becoming an actress. The screenplay is based on a script about a night in the dressing room of a theatre actress coming to the end of her career. Fabienne is cheerful, adorable and deliciously mischievous. Lumir creates the initial spark. The story takes place in autumn to superimpose what the heroine goes through at the end of her life onto the landscapes of Paris at the end of summer. People will see how the greens of the garden change subtly as winter approaches, accompanying the relationship between mother and daughter and colouring this moment of their lives. If a fresh breeze of cheerfulness and freedom blows through "The Truth", even though it takes place mainly inside a family home, it’s certainly because Fabienne and Lumir charm and kindness irradiate the film from beginning to end. The young Charlotte reveals a personality and a presence full of life. As children often do in films, the little girl watches philosophically the confrontation between these slightly overwhelmed men and these women trapped in their past. It's a film that's not only serious but also light-hearted, where drama and comedy coexist, as they do in real life. The chemistry between Fabienne, Lumir and the amused gaze of the child succeed in setting the right tone.
For his first feature set outside Japan, Kore-eda lends this hugely enjoyable film the observant, tender eye audiences have come to cherish to a 'Francophile’s' dream project. "The Truth" is a very special cinema experience: a gentle, sly and moving exploration of reality and fiction, family, performance, and the great spectacle of life. The film is a love letter to mothers and daughters everywhere. Charming, bold, and imbued with endless emotional insight, "The Truth" offers a relatable look at human relationships. It's a powerful and emotional story of family conflicts and family dynamics. What makes a family a family? Truth or lies? And how would you choose between a cruel truth and a kind lie? These are the questions we never stopped asking ourselves. Everyone who sees it will take the opportunity to find his or her own answers. Ultimately this is a warm and quietly moving story that jumbles acting and real life; truth and fiction. If "Shoplifters" is a story about strangers pretending to be relatives, this is a story about relatives pretending to be strangers.