Review: The Father of My Children
4 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund
I love movies about making movies. Many of them, like “Sunset Boulevard,” “The Player” “8½” and “8½'s” wrongfully abused stepchild, “Nine,” are as interested in portraying the glitzy glamor of showbiz as exploring the struggles of those being digested within its underbelly. “The Father of My Children,” French writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve's 2009 Cannes favorite (it nabbed the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section), ditches all the glamor and focuses on the gastric juices.
Grégoire Canvel (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), an independent Parisian film producer, is hit with problem upon problem, setback upon setback, as if someone were following him around with a tennis ball cannon. His life is a fascinating, frustrating swirl of behind-the-scenes stressors, all born of the initial desire to put art up on the screen. Somewhere along the line for Grégoire, the art end was terminally eclipsed by the business end, and Hansen-Løve, a serious talent at 29, realistically exposes the hectic, money-conscious muck of her own profession while illustrating Grégoire's undoing. At least, that's the first hour of the film.