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Perplexingly less than the sum of its dramatic real-life parts, In the Name of My Daughter doesn't do enough to support its story -- or Catherine Deneuve's performance.
All Critics (46)
| Top Critics (21)
| Fresh (23)
| Rotten (23)
More disappointing than the film's inertia and amorphousness is its sacrifice of the real-world themes of class, money, corruption, and power. Unable to decide what story he wanted to tell, Téchiné hedges his bets and loses everything.
It has its true-crime fascinations, and, until its misbegotten 30-year flash-forward to Maurice's trial, it has a silky allure of sun-kissed depravity.
'In the Name of My Daughter" is one of those French films that leave you going "huh?"
It's a pleasure to take in the lush settings, to hear the delicately ominous score (by Benjamin Biolay) and to watch these actors circling each other.
A fascinating, suspenseful story about obsessive love, money, the Mafia, and murder.
Tawdry tale gets complex, layered treatment from French master Andre Techine.
"In the Name of My Daughter" sets out to disrupt genre conventions, but it just plays like a failed version of the kind of film it's trying to critique.
Feeling more in line with a blasé made-for-TV-movie, the film coasts mostly on the strength of the stellar ensemble's performances and Nice's gorgeous scenery.
A true crime story of money and power and sex and betrayal and missing persons and the mafia, André Téchiné's French Riviera-set film stars Catherine Deneuve as a casino owner and still somehow manages to be dull.
Late Téchiné is restrained; late Deneuve is not. The standout performer is Adèle Haenel as the daughter who goes missing: she's a lively wire.
Not even Catherine Deneuve can save this dramatically inert soap opera of corruption and obsession, which does not even resolve its central mystery.
... a desultory mash-up of tones and styles. It doesn't really succeed as either melodrama or mystery. Téchiné's pacing is off and potentially incriminating information is jack-hammered into place.
The movie starts with Agnes(Adele Haenel) returning home to the south of France after a divorce, greeted not by her mother Renee(Catherine Deneuve) at the airport but instead her aide de camp and lawyer Maurice(Guillaume Canet). What Agnes is looking for more than anything else is her inheritance while instead receiving just enough money to start her own boutique. For Renee, it comes down to loyalty on the board of the casino she owns, feeling Agnes' shares will come in handy in the upcoming power struggle Maurice is warning her about.
Based on a true story and current cause celebre but not exclusively so(more on this later), "In the Name of My Daughter" seems at first like a straightforward enough movie with a couple of musical numbers thrown in for good measure. But as much as the opening statement feels like it was written by an entire law firm, the rest of the movie thankfully does not, subtly implying a solution to its central mystery that is not directly in the legal record. That's due to it not opening in the present day which would have made this the story of Renee's crusade, instead turning it into Agnes' story of getting caught between two opposing forces.
Catherine Deneuve's acting in this film is once again unassailable and complete. The film itself gave the impression at first of being a fairly light, luxury travelogue piece about the tribulations of the rich, punctuated with some stylish mother-daughter bickering. However, despite its rather loose editing and sprawling style, it becomes a story of real meaning and power. Somehow Deneuve bridges the ever-widening edges. The daughter at first appears too baby-faced to be a tough businesswoman, but the casting shows its worth when the degradation sets in and the woman becomes helpless. The husband is played very effectively as an everyman - he could be anyone you know. This film proves that the French cinema product can truly deliver more substance than style: the postcard backdrop becomes distinctly frayed as the reality plays out over the tormented decades. Any disgruntled young woman full of ambition and spirit, who believes it is therefore a good idea to reject her mother, ought to see this. The film shows how easy it is to divide people from their natural affections.
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