The Son of Joseph ★★★½


As performed by Fabrizio Rongione and (especially) Natacha Régnier, Green's signature direct-to-camera shot has an effect on me that's like a non-lethal version of Madame Psychosis speaking lovingly to the viewer-infant in Himself's "Infinite Jest (V?)." It's pure, unconditional compassion—a singular and radical approach that pays off magnificently here in the climactic non-confrontation with Amalric and the gendarmerie. However, I'm troubled by the film's implicitly reactionary viewpoint on single motherhood. It's possible to yearn for an absent father without being a complete asshole, as Vincent is initially characterized; Marie shows him nothing but love, yet he treats her with contempt bordering on hostility until Joseph enters his life. Soured me a little on what would otherwise likely have been one of my favorite films of the year.