French movies continue to disappoint me. This one being from provocateur Michael Haneke (Amour, Cache, Funny Games, The White Ribbon), who wants to show us European bourgeoisie, with people being inhumane to each other. There’s the murder of a hamster, leading to a mom being put into a coma by a 13-year-old girl (Fantine Harduin). There’s a loser son that drinks too much and caused the accidental death of an employee at their business. Yes, the Laurent family is a mess.
Eve (Harduin) moves in with her father Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz) and stepmother Anais (Laura Verlinden). Dad likes to talk dirty to women online.
The talented Isabelle Huppert (playing Aunt Anne) wants her loser son Pierre (Franz Rogowski) to get involved in the family business. Her lawyer/lover is the always welcome Toby Jones, who really doesn’t do a lot in this movie.
The most interesting character is grandfather Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who is suffering dementia, and he has a nasty past as well. He’s looking to end his life, while I was rooting for it to happen so this boring, abstract, disjointed mess of a movie would end. Now, the scenes he has with his granddaughter are interesting. The film needed more of those moments.
I’m not sure why filmmakers have such a problem writing characters that are sociopaths. For example, the kid in The Killing of a Sacred Deer was terrific, but the story was awful. In this story, we get what Haneke is going after — the cell phones and online stuff, and a generation of uncaring folks that are left in its wake. Instead, we’re forced to watch horribly filmed scenes of computer screens.
Look…most of us just spent the holidays with family members we couldn’t stand — whether that’s because they’re boring people, they argue politics, they’re crazy Christians, or they insist you try the chili they made [sorry, I had to vent there]. If you’re asking us to spend time with these awful people — at least give us reason to do so. Asking people to spend money on movie tickets for this is a crime.
1 star out of 5.