FILM | Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Anatomy of a Fall (2023)
Directed by Justine Triet

Cue PIMP by Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band (A.K.A. the very first song in the film)

What. A. Film. An Oscar for Best Screenplay. The Palme d’Or. This film is IT (if we were to describe such a film with the gen-z language). I LOVE me some thrill and suspense but done intelligently, leaving you still wondering about the possibilities. I also love me a French film since I’ve been taking French lessons.. but legal and courtroom talk in French was way too advanced. Why did I even try to turn off the subtitles.. I gave up trying. But anyway, I gotta say, this was one of my favorite films I’ve watched recently. For those who have not watched it. it’s also important to note: don’t be intimidated by the courtroom scenes you might chance upon on social media, because… I was. I thought it was going to be a slow paced film because of it, but I was sorely mistaken. If I could sell the film to you better.. think of crime documentaries. Do you like watching them? Okay now, what if we saw what actually was going on behind all of the craze that these victims or murderers go through when they’re alone at home.. all the thoughts and arguments and breakdowns they must have had that nobody else sees.. THAT is Anatomy of a Fall. (slight spoilers ahead)

Firstly, I’m more jealous than impressed by this film’s logline – “a woman is suspected of murder after her husband’s death; their half-blind son faces a moral dilemma as the main witness”. Damn. How original is that?! When have you ever seen a child in the middle of a courtroom case? And BLIND? F*cking genius. When you can sell a film with just the logline, that’s when you know you have a film. You don’t need wild cinematography or insanely stylistic decisions to make an original film when you have a story that no one has ever come close to hearing. So let’s talk about the story and screenplay, because that is what made the film was it is.

The screenplay was incredibly crafted. It isn’t a surprise that it won the Oscar. You really couldn’t tell what the actual truth was. And you still feel like you wouldn’t even really know after! But as you watch this film, you begin to realize that this isn’t about a murder case, ultimately it becomes an exploration of relationship dynamics, gender dynamics, and societal dynamics. It’s genius that Justine Triet used the courtroom scenes juxtaposed with the reality at home to make you think hard. She decided to use the courtroom for the majority of the film because it’s a place where reality and fiction start to get lost in translation, and yet it is where we go to settle a person’s fate. The screenplay also was brilliant for how it built the image of Sandra and Samuel’s relationship and the reversal of gender roles and expectations. She was a successful author that wanted to keep on working toward her dreams despite the fate of blindness of her child, while Samuel was left in a place of depression for what Sandra thinks are his own failures. And the very fact that she was an author made the whole story even more complex.. she could be crafting her own stories flawlessly! And to top it all off, you have a child at the center of it having to listen to her parents’ dirty laundry aired out in front of the whole country, forced to pick a side. It was genius genius genius through and through. Lastly, I loved that Justine seamlessly integrated music by using Daniel’s talent for piano as the film’s soundtrack throughout. I am a sucker for piano soundtracks, and this just added so much more layer to the film. Triet showcased her brilliance for filmmaking – it was a true masterclass.

As for the acting, all I gotta say is Sandra Huller was my bet for Best Actress. What a performance. To switch from the frustration and narcissism of her character to a pained mother to a somewhat deceiving victim. She’s got to be one of the best actresses I’ve encountered. Her skill and talent showed, especially during Sandra and Samuel’s big argument. I was pleased to see her in The Zone of Interest too. I can’t wait to see her in more films. And ofcourse I must applaud Milo Machado-Graner, Daniel in the film, for the pain he showed of being in the middle of such a complex case and still dealing with the traumatic loss of his father. What a bright future ahead for him.

To end this all, I think she did it. Ha! And don’t worry, I’m not spoiling the film, because there are many discussions on the possibilities. But if you’ve watched it, what do you think? DM me lol.

EV