Cinéfranco Review: “In The Name of My Daughter” (2014) ★★★★


Would you betray your mother for a man you barely knew? Would you allow your heart to take over your mind when everyone is asking you to think rationally? Renée Le Roux is a shareholder of the Palais de la Méditerranée Casino; Agnès Le Roux is the divorced daughter of Renée who falls in love with the calculating, manipulative, and dangerous Maurice Agnelet, and who just so happens to be Agnès’s right arm. Everything turns upside down when Agnes, believing that she is about to start a fresh life with her lover, falls under the influence of Maurice, who takes 3 million francs from the local Mafioso Fratoni, and shortly after disappears without a trace…

I spent half an hour to refresh my mind on what I saw. I sincerely do not remember when it was the last time I saw a film that would hold me the entire time,  without little intention of releasing me, even for a second. It is always intriguing to see films based on true stories, despite their fatal ending. The beginning of In The Name of My Daughter (aka L’homme qu’on aimait trop) looks incredibly promising. We find Renée Le Roux (masterfully played by the true legend of French Cinema, Catherine Deneuve), who owns the Palais de la Méditerranée Casino, where Maurice ‘helps’ her with his smart advice.

Despite the fact that Maurice seems so helpful and tries to protect, and save, Renée from her mistakes, there is something mystical about this young man, and we can`t help but to dislike him.  When Agnelet enters the scene, we find Maurice becoming very interested in her. Even though he is her mother`s right arm, he tries to manipulate the young girl to go against her mother. Unfortunately, since Agnelet does not like her powerful mother, she allows Maurice to play his game, without even noticing.

It is an impressive film and I found it to be one of the best European psychological films in decades. If we put aside the real life story, then the next point of discussion would be the performance delivered by Catherine Deneuve, who, as a mother, does not show her love for her daughter as much in the beginning as she does in the end. Her braveness, ability not to give up on finding the truth is truly admirable. The fantastic Adèle Haenel plays Agnete to be as fragile as possible. Watching her performance you can tell how desperate and weak she is, and the impact she had after her relationship with the wicked Maurice. Guillaume Canet, as Maurice Agnelet, is truly chilling, scary, and totally convincing, as a man for whom Agnelet would betray her own mother.

In the Name of My Daughter is another great films that comes from old Europe. I can`t help but to be amazed by the cleverly written script, which holds you, as if on a tide, throughout the film; wondering just how the story will end. I am sure I won`t be the only one who will try to warn Agnelet about the upcoming danger throughout the film. But that is the power this film has, where you, as the audience will try to participate in every aspect and try to prevent the unpreventable. In the Name of My Daughter will be screened as the part of the Francophone International Film Festival, and surely, can`t be missed. Believe it or not, seeing the power of this film and it’s ability to tell the story is what attracts our attention and makes us love the film itself, unconditionally.  This is why André Téchiné`s film can be used as a great example of what we expect from the modern cinema.

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