Film Review: “Standing Tall” (2015) ★★★★★


Many people can behave in self-destructive ways that eventually destroy their life. However, some of them are still able to get out of the hole that they have digged themselves in if someone helps them out. “Standing Tall”, co-written and directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, precisely talks about that behavior of a young and very violent Malony who seems to not care about the rest of the world and acts the way he wants. However, there will be one woman who will see the light in his dark soul – judge Florence Blaque (Catherine Deneuve) who starts educating him in the only way she sees possible.…

Malony is around six years old, intelligent, calm and self-controlled in front of judge Blaque, when his mother, Séverine Ferrandot (Sara Forestier) in tears tries to explain how uncontrollable her son is. As you watch it, the camera continuously follows the still six-years-old Malony whose calculated looks allow you to predict his approximate future. The future that comes quickly where he’s again in the room of the judge and once again unhappy about everything around him.

The relationship that began many years ago between the judge and Malony continues up until that moment when we finally find her losing her control and makes her come up with radical and life changing decisions for the Ferrandot family. When Malony is sent to a special school, he meets two most important people that will start slowly shaping his future. Yann, who used to be in the same position that Malony is now, works with the judge closely to rescue Malony from the spiral of trouble he puts himself in every single minute. But before any change comes, it’s Malony who needs to realize that there is only one way out of a violent life – an ending that would not please anyone who cares about him…

There is something special about Malony, despite his most of the time disgusting attitude that will make you wish to punch his nose every time. As the story progresses, you get a chance to know about his past more, especially the time when he was abandoned by his own mother. That of course allows Malony to get extra points to earn your sympathy. However, it’s the juvenile judge Blaque and Yann who see something unique about him that makes them to invest as much time as possible to ensure that Malony one day will be a person they want him to become.

In conclusion, “Standing Tall” is an intense drama about a man who had to survive a difficult childhood. Rod Paradot as Malony is truly remarkable as he captures all hate, desperation, aggressiveness and violent behavior the young man had. Moreover, it’s an extremely emotional story that will warm your heart. As usual, there is no question about Catherine Deneuve’s performance, but it would be fair to mention that everyone in this film does a tremendous job to ensure that Emmanuelle Bercot’s effort won’t be wasted. And it was not! So, if you are looking for a meaningful film to watch, “Standing Tall” is the right film for you, as it has an important message in it you would not like to miss.

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