Our Children Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 11, 2012
Even though the first scene eliminates some of the impact that the end should cause, one cannot deny how powerful and moving this film is - and Émilie Dequenne is fantastic, conveying with such agonizing intensity the whole suffering of a depressed woman.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2015
There is an old saying that as embracing as family can be, it can also be a trap. With the sobering movie "Our Children," we are given the most extreme example of that possible, beginning with hints of an unspeakable crime that is eventually revealed.

For Murielle(Emilie Dequenne), her own family history has been tumultuous before meeting Mounir(Tahar Rahim), as exemplified by her difficult older sister Francoise(Stephane Bissot). Even at the young age of 20, Murielle is ready to settle down with Mounir, even as she is cautioned by Mounir's stepfather Andre(Niels Arestrup) to take her time. She doesn't.

Still, this is a family with its warning signs if one is looking for them. Andre is only married to Fatima(Mounia Raoui) so she could get her papers. But otherwise he has no apparent outside social life, as he is invited along to Mounir and Murielle's honeymoon. Mounir has failed his exams, so he has settled down to work in Andre's office.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2013
Devastating and hard to watching places, this is an important film that will longer in the memory.
July 31, 2013
It's an all too common trope for a movie to begin with its end before flashing back and building from the story's initial outset of events. But in director Joachim Lafosse's stunning domestic drama "Our Children" it's to remind us of the irreversible. In 2007, a Belgian woman named Genevieve Lhermitte (dubbed Murielle here and played with the utmost conviction by Émilie Dequenne) slit each of her five children's throats with a knife stolen from a grocery store while her husband was visiting family in Morocco. (She was subsequently charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.)

"Our Children" opens with Murielle in a hospital ward weeping burial plans. What happens next describes the prior buoyant relationship between her and Mounir ("A Prophet" and "The Past's" Tahar Rahim) and his surrogate father André (Niels Arestrup, also of "A Prophet"), a physician who lives with and financially provides for the quickly married couple. Though Lafosse isn't so much interested in the HOW of the events as he is the WHY, and even then the reasons are more ruminative than explanatory or demystifying, and despite that Lafosse -- who wrote the loosely-based script with Thomas Bidegain and Matthieu Reynaert -- largely sticks to the facts of the matter, though issuing Murielle and Mounir four kids instead of five.

I wouldn't have it any other way. So much as I am someone who can easily stomach anything in the gore range of "Antichrist" and "Salo" to the relatively obscure gross-out masterpiece "Melancholie der Engel", the "Blue Valentine"/"-Is the Warmest Color"-type emotional devastation of "Our Children" -- and this just might have been kicking in the caffeine I'd ingested both beforehand and throughout my specific viewing -- I found to be particularly draining. For that I want to champion especially Dequenne as the grieving first bride and then mother. It takes a certain dens- and virtuosity to play seduced and abandoned with as much fragile sympathy as she does. (One scene in particular that has Murielle breaking into tears during a love song she hears driving on the radio, guided in one motionless take, though the film as a whole missed the Oscar shortlist, should have nonetheless been submitted as the pièce de résistance of a separate highlight reel.)

Given the present themes of patriarchy and family life I can only imagine how Danish director Susanne Bier would have handled similar material, or, given "Our Children's" tricky grisly subject matter, the Parisian auteur Jacques Audiard of "Prophet" and "Rust & Bone" fame. But Lafosse chose to turn this into a movie, and it's the feature that should unofficially announce him as a filmmaker to be put on the map. This is a masterful rendition of real-life happenstance, told visually with the always peeking eye of a liable onlooker. We along with the film wonder, from the male-dominated perspective of our cultural delusion, if the postpartum depression of Genevieve Lhermitte could have been helped, and if five lives could have been saved. (83/100)
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2015
There is an old saying that as embracing as family can be, it can also be a trap. With the sobering movie "Our Children," we are given the most extreme example of that possible, beginning with hints of an unspeakable crime that is eventually revealed.

For Murielle(Emilie Dequenne), her own family history has been tumultuous before meeting Mounir(Tahar Rahim), as exemplified by her difficult older sister Francoise(Stephane Bissot). Even at the young age of 20, Murielle is ready to settle down with Mounir, even as she is cautioned by Mounir's stepfather Andre(Niels Arestrup) to take her time. She doesn't.

Still, this is a family with its warning signs if one is looking for them. Andre is only married to Fatima(Mounia Raoui) so she could get her papers. But otherwise he has no apparent outside social life, as he is invited along to Mounir and Murielle's honeymoon. Mounir has failed his exams, so he has settled down to work in Andre's office.
½ May 29, 2015
Joachim Lafosse has always had an extraordinary skill at presenting the most devastating stories in deceptively simple style. The viewer frequently has the feeling of being a sort of "fly on the wall" creating an almost voyeuristic tension. It is as if we have snuck into very intimate moments that whether we like it or not, it creates a disquieting tone -- all too realistic in feeling without any escape. In many ways, the camera's viewpoint pulls the audience into a position of not only caring but feeling helpless as we watch these people unravel. He managed a very similar feat in 2007's quietly intense "Private Property" However, in this brilliant film he explores an intelligent young woman's emotional and mental break which lead her to commit filicide. Along the way the film probes into some very difficult human conflicts in an almost casual way. This is a challenging, thought-provocking film that refuses to hold our hand -- and without ever leaning on obvious cinema ploys or techniques -- the film manages a violent shock. We don't have to see what has happened. And Lafosse is not an artist who holds your hand. This tragedy is all the more tragic because it could have been prevented. Absolutely stunning and transformative performance by Emilie Dequenne. It is a rare example of skill both in front and behind the camera.
½ December 19, 2013
Based on a real-life tragedy, Our Children has a quietly crushing effect on the viewer. Emilie Dequenne gives a powerful performance as the depressed mother. Though by flashing the final moments at the very start of the film, the director takes away from the shock that awaits the destiny of the characters, it is still an intense psychologically stirring film.
½ June 25, 2014
Marriage is not fun. Most girls fall for love only to get burned. Love is not enough. Cultures do matter. Religion do matter. Beautiful, but sad movie telling the reality surrounding our lives. This is why I love watching European movies. Realism at its best with superior and fat orchestral background music.
June 9, 2014
You learn the tragedy at the start of the movie, but how and why is the movie. It's a "quietly violent psychodrama." Emilie Duquenne won best actress at Cannes for this movie.
½ September 30, 2013
I was very spectacle within the first half hour, watching life through different speeds and the start of a family, clearly leading to a tragedy. The the first hour is absent of any real lessons or deep morals and only demonstrates the struggles of having young children. Arestrup and Rahim work magic together again, and obviously have learned to have some of the greatest on screen chemistry between an elder and a young man in the last decade, thanks to the writing of Thomas Bidegain. Within the second half of the film you really get to see the tension, the somewhat psychotic lifestyle that is taking place. The normal struggles of a family become terrifying realizations of hostile behavior, anxiety and depression. Without real patience and any interest in dysfunctional situations, someone might find this film 'boring' and possibly even decide not to finish, but I would see that as a regretful decision.
December 28, 2013
Outstanding direction and storytelling. Does not rely on sensationalism and cheap suspense treatment but instead takes us intelligently through this very sensitive subject.
August 1, 2013
A shocking tale of an unlikely schizophrenic mother.
½ September 25, 2013
À PERDRE LA RAISON (2012)

País:Bélgica
Realizador: Joachim Lafosse
Elenco: Niels Arestrup, Tahar Rahim, Émilie Dequenne

"À perdre la raison" (baseado numa história verídica) é um filme de autor, um daqueles filmes em que os longos silêncios e um olhar dizem mais do que qualquer diálogo. Com um ritmo lento e sinuoso, o filme vai gradualmente envolvendo o espectador na sua elaborada teia, apesar da sensação de que não acontece muita coisa na história. Uma história que, no entanto, esconde mais camadas do que pode parecer à primeira vista, onde os innuendos se sobrepõem às evidências. Lafosse retrata magistralmente, em duas cenas, a ambiguidade da relação entre Mounir (Tahar Rahim) e o seu pai adoptivo,o médico Andre Pinget (Niels Arestrup), levantando dúvidas no espectador sobre a sua verdadeira natureza; uma discussão acalorada entre Mounir e o irmão, ou um momento inofensivo entre pai e filho que apreciam uma relaxante sauna, são suficientes para mostrar a influência de André sobre Mounir e os laços que parecem ir para além do afecto paterno-filial. Além disso, o filme toca em temas interessantes, como o choque entre culturas ou os polémicos casamentos de conveniência - alguns dos personagens casam para que um dos cônjuges possa obter a nacionalidade e permanecer no país.

Logo no início do filme ficamos a saber que algo de terrível aconteceu com Murielle (Emilie Dequenne) e com a sua família. Para descobrir exactamente o quê, só temos de seguir sua vida, desde o momento em que o apaixonado Mounier a pede em casamento. Depois do nascimento do seu terceiro filho, o casal começa a lutar com a falta de espaço e de dinheiro, pelo que decidem mudar-se para a casa de André, e é então que os problemas começam. Após um arranque promissor, pelo meio a história sofre devido a quebras de ritmo, conseguindo recuperar na parte final. Há muitas maneiras de retratar o horror. Pode-se optar pela forma mais explícita, ou fazer o que fez Lafosse: permitir que o público imagine a cena sem com isso perder nenhum impacto dramático. A subtileza desta cena final gelou-me literalmente o sangue nas veias. Em suma, um bom filme, ao melhor estilo do cinema europeu.(16/20)
September 15, 2013
Torture! I don't care how good the acting or important the the psychological issues this is a movie to stay away from unless you simply want to immerse yourself in morbid depression followed by a tragic end. I walked out.
August 2, 2013
Actually, a 94% rating from critics explains exactly why I don't go by critics. Who the HECK wants to see a "wrenching, quietly violent psychodrama .... caught up in an unehalthy emotional climate that insidiously leads the family towards a tragic outcome." WTHeck! We live in a fallen world with its demons, yes - and it is enough to deal with my own drama! This ain't entertainment for me! And I DO go to movies to be entertained. If I want my mind to be challenged, I'll read a book, borrowed from the library!
July 31, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
July 30, 2013
Sorry this ain't my cup of tea.
½ February 13, 2013
Excellent performances. L'issue implacable d'une existence niée, d'une volonté profonde et réprimée, d'une peur coupable et maladive.
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