Directed by: Mia Hansen-Love
Written by:Mia Hansen-Love
Starring: Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Chiara Caselli, Alice de Lencquesaing, Alice Gautier, Manelle Driss
Released: August 26, 2010
Grade: A-

For decades, Grégoire Canvel has been making movies.  Not all have been a success but he’s proud of his achievements.  It’s a ruthless industry and Grégoire has been through some hard times but he’s always managed to keep his business afloat… until now.

A major production helmed by an egotistical Swedish director has blown its budget.  Already deep in debt, Grégoire is trying everything to save his business.  He’s negotiating with the tax office and he’s pleading with the bank.  The staff are fighting just as hard.  They’re working long hours in the hope that things will turn around and their jobs will be saved.

Grégoire puts on a brave face but deep down, he’s struggling.  In trying to shield his wife and kids from his problems at work, Grégoire is only adding to his stress levels.  There’s a profound scene where Grégoire walks into his office, turns off the light, takes off his shoes and simply lies on the couch.  You get the sense that sleep is his only solace.  He doesn’t know what else to do.

Father Of My Children is a deeply moving character study.  When you first meet Grégoire, you’ll realise he’s just an ordinary guy.  All he wants is to provide for his family and to make a small mark on the world.  As his business starts to collapse however, those dreams are jeopardised.  I know there are many people who have been through a similar situation and will relate to Grégoire’s troubled mindset.

There’s a lot more to this story which I have not revealed in this review.  It goes down some unexpected paths and explores interesting territory.  29-year-old Mia Hansen-Love deserves credit both as a writer and a director.  This is a very convincing drama.  There’s a “realness” to these characters that you don’t often see on the big screen.

Winner of a special jury prize in the Un Certain Regard section of last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Father Of My Children is another great example of the strength within the French film industry.