Monday, June 8, 2015


Greenbelt 3 Cinemas

1976 when the casino wars was in full swing in Nice (the French Riviera), Agnes Le Roux returns home. After a failed marriage and doing humanitarian work in Africa, she is eager to claim her inheritance so she can start anew. 

Renee Le Roux, her mother and the owner of Le Palais de la Mediterranee casino is hesitant as her company is having financial troubles. Through the prodding of an ambitious lawyer named Maurice Agnelet, Agnes betrays her mother by selling her shares to her mother's rival, a mafia type who is taking over the whole area. 

Aside from featuring the estranged relationship between mother and daughter, the passionate affair between Agnes and Maurice (who is twice her age), the later part of the film turns into a court-room drama. 

Apparently after her mother's casino closes down and her affair with Maurice ends, Agnes suffers from severe depression. Much to the chagrin of her mother, a despondent Agnes tried to kill herself. A few months after she disappears. Renee is convinced Maurice killed her daughter, even though there were no witnesses and her body was never found, the case dragged on for years. 

The cinematography is very scenic, given that it is filmed in the French Riviera. The wardrobe though looks quite modern as there are no flare pants, long sideburns nor any flowery/hippie fashion style. 

One cannot pinpoint whether it's a thriller, mystery, romance or a court-room drama. Or a bad mix of all these genres. In the same manner, the original French title which translates roughly to "The Man Who Was Much Loved" doesn't coincide with its English title "In the Name of My Daughter".  Confusing.

Catherine Deneuve as I have mentioned before is still a stunning presence. As Renee La Roux, the pain and anguish over the disappearance of her only daughter is visceral and poignant. Guillaume Canet's boyish appearance makes it hard to believe that he is much older than Agnes. The main draw is the brilliant performance of Adele Haenel as the intense yet fiercely independent daughter, she captures the essence of the troubled Agnes with subtle conviction.

At the end of the film, we are told that a year after Maurice was acquitted, he lost an appeal and was sentenced to 20 years. Last year 2014 in the third trial on the case, Maurice's son accused his father of killing Agnes Le Roux in Italy and he was sentenced to another 20 years.

Really tragic, if you ask me. More so for Renee Le Roux as her daughter's body was never found. The case remains yet another unsolved mystery with no clear resolution nor closure which pretty much echoes the way this film unfolded.

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