Anatomy of a Fall

Anatomy of a Fall ★★★★½

Somehow this movie is both everything you would expect and also something completely different, and it succeeds on both counts. On its face it’s a courtroom drama that clearly evokes Preminger’s “Anatomy of a Murder,” as the title suggests. But it also turns out to be about marriage, and about the insular reality that only the two partners in a marriage can understand, and by extension, it grapples with the nature of truth. All of this it does without taking sides or passing judgment, and in fact, the more you think on the events of the film, on what’s said and what it reveals about the characters, the more unsure you are that you’re even qualified to judge the truth for yourself. Director Justine Triet allows the proceedings to unfold before the audience’s eyes with a precise, almost clinical precision, allowing her actors to deliver stunning, powerful performances. Sandra Hüller is astonishingly effective; she invokes an utterly unique combination of both sympathy and suspicion. And child actor Milo Machado Garner is transfixing as her son; his soulful eyes and naturalistic delivery almost entirely distract you from the notion that kids don’t talk like this at all—another manipulation of the truth that leaves you pondering what you saw onscreen.

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