The Truth

25/11/2021 19:30.
Cert PG

The Truth - Curzon Artificial EyeThe films of Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda have long been a popular choice for screenings by ABCD, and The Truth (based on a short story by Ken Liu) is his first film set in France with and with a mostly French cast.

Many of the tropes, family relationships and domestic interiors seen in his previous films are re-enacted in this film. Characteristically, at its centre is a family brought together to celebrate the publication of the autobiography of matriarch Fabienne Dangeville, a famous actress of a certain age, played magnificently by Catherine Deneuve with humour and candour.

Daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) arrives from the USA with her American husband Hank (Ethan Hawke) and their sophisticated daughter Charlotte (Clementine Grenier). Lumir, now a screenwriter in America, is mystified and frustrated by the inaccuracies in her mother’s book, as is her long term manager and companion, Jacques (Christian Grahay), who is totally absent from it. Fabienne, it seems, has no problem re-imagining her life in the way she wishes to portray it, turning a blind eye to inconvenient truths, all in the style of the fictional characters she has played throughout her long career.

Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan/France, 106 minutes, 2019. 

Programme Notes

The blurring of lines between real life and relationships within the family are cleverly illustrated in the scenes of Fabienne at the film studio of her latest (science fiction) film, which tells the tale of a mother and daughter relationship. In Fabienne, Kore-eda, has created a delicious monster in Deneuve’s character – while the humour that inhabits the script, and the clear enjoyment of it by the actors, makes this a hugely pleasurable film.

Ultimately, The Truth may not have the depth and complexity of his previous work but Kore-eda’s style of film-making transfers well to a French milieu, where he is ably supported by the trans-generational cast.


I found this to be a very introverted film, inhabited by characters from the film-making community. The two central characters, Fabienne and daughter Lumir, were  both script writers/actors. A major schism between them was Lumir’s claim that her mother had misrepresented Lumir’s childhood in her memoirs. Fabienne’s response boiled down to “[…] well you can choose whether to be a good mother or a good actress – I chose to be a good actress. My fan base doesn’t want to hear that I was a neglectful mother”. I quite liked the ending where there seemed to be an acceptance by both mother and daughter that compromise was better than holding grudges based on rigid principles