The Truth by Hirokazu Koreeda [6/10]

It’s hard to imagine more different filmic worlds than that of Hirokazu Koreeda’s brilliant “Shoplifters,” a naturalistic, dark tale of Japanese poverty, and that of “The Truth,” his latest outing. His first film outside his home country, it is set in the opulent, refined world of Paris filmmaking. It is a simple, subtle set piece for Catherine Deneuve, who plays Fabienne, a movie diva approaching the end of her career, and Juliette Binoche, who plays Lumir, Fabienne’s observant, shrewd daughter. Fabienne is publishing her memoirs, none too truthful, and trying to emote in a new movie (a sci-fi film that sets up another subplot), and Lumir is in town to pursue the truth. Truthfulness and artifice form the thematic backbone of the film, and Koreeda’s snappy script circles them intriguingly. “The Truth” is bathed in atmospherics and the dialogue is first-rate. Binoche holds down her role commandingly and Ethan Hawke is one of a number of intelligent supports, but, to my mind, Deneuve over-eggs her haughty role without eliciting enough credibility. Add to that a smartly nuanced, but mild storyline, and “The Truth” ends up as a confection, not a triumph.

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