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  1. There are many reasons to see The Truth (or La Verite). It takes place in Paris. It’s the newest tale from Japanese film master, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, who made last year’s charming Shoplifters (but it’s not in Japanese—it’s in French and English). It’s one of those delightful films that has another film story embedded in it. The cinematography is discreet and serviceable with not an unnecessary show-off shot. Most importantly, it’s a rare chance to see two French femme stars sharing screen time. Watching Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche interact with one another has got to be one of the cinematic highlights of the year. Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve), the still radiant French cinema legend, has just published her long-awaited memoir. Arriving at Fabienne’s Parisian mini-estate from New York to congratulate her is her estranged daughter, screenwriter Lumir (Juliette Binoche), with her B-list actor husband (Ethan Hawke ) and their adorable daughter (Clementine Grenier). Lumir is appalled to realize from the memoir that her mother has brazenly fantasized their relationship to impress her adoring public. The truth is that Fabienne was neglectful, distant and abusive. For motherly kindness, Lumir turned to Sarah, her mother’s friend and rival, who killed herself after Fabienne stole a role from her. Lumir is devastated to discover that Fabienne doesn’t even mention Sarah. Showing up at the house also is Lumir’s father – who is amused to discover that Fabienne claims he has died! While Fabienne is blithely lying to the world about everything, she’s playing an eeriely similar role in a sci-fi movie. A young woman (Manon Clavel), who is deathly ill, goes into outer space where she never ages. She comes back to Earth every several years, where both her daughter and her mother are aging in Earth years. While Fabienne plays the challenging role of the story’s mother, she deals with her jealousy of the younger actress and Lumir’s growing fury at her. Since both Fabienne and Lumir are civilized, fireworks don’t fly, but the hidden tensions between them are smoldering hot enough to make you squirm. Hirokazu Kore-Eda gives the story his all--he directs, writes and edits the film, which is why every scene is exquisite. While you marvel at Fabienne’s ability to enchant everyone, like the magic creature in her famous film The Witch of the Vincennes, you also witness the agony of everyone caught in her web. I personally did not believe the sorta-happy ending, but I hope everyone who sees The Truth will decide for themselves if families can ever truly heal. Rated PG for thematic and suggestive elements, and for smoking and brief language. Languages: French and English. Length: 106 min. Opens in select theatres and most digital and cable platforms on July 3, 2020.
  2. Hopefully I am not starting a duplicate...search was not pulling anything up. I remember seeing ads last year, but I kept missing it...Showtime had it in the on demand lineup, I added it to my queue and found out that it expired two days later and I never got to watch. I discovered it was back in Showtime's on-demand listings on Sunday and added it...turns out it expires today, so I watched last night. The basic gist of the documentary is following the punk artists of the mid-eighties-ninties and what happened when they went from being angry kids making music to piss off their parent to being...well...parents. It begins simply enough, with background on the punk movement and the artists being profiled, juxtaposing it with the current life a lot of these guys are leading. This also creates a problem the first half of the film struggles with. It is very regular talking heads stuff. It focuses heavily on Pennywise's Jim Lindberg. Linberg's story makes sense, it is a nicely touching story about how family can cause a change in priorities. And really, Jim is probably the more relateable for non-punk fans. Linberg seems quite passionate about being a solid father above a rebellious punk icon. And that is why the second half of the film is so much stronger. For most of the fathers interviewed, kids gave their life unexpected purpose. Seeing Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers starting to cry about his kids is touching. He makes a comment about the old parental adage "I gave you life..." and says that for him it was the opposite. His children gave HIM life. Seeing the heartache from several of the guys as they discuss the poor parenting examples they grew up with, and their desire to be better parents than what they themselves had is definitely touching. The second half of the film is just so thoughtful, the first half seems to feel disconnected. But I still really did like this one overall. (apparently Jason Segal just sold a pitch based on the doc for a comedy)
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