The Truth Parent Guide
The most interesting moments in this film come when the dialogue explores the temptation to live our lives within our own scripts.
Parent Movie Review
The Truth (or La verité, it’s original French title) could easily be accused of being a foreign film-geek love fest. Acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda paints the screen with two of France’s biggest actresses: Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche. The two butt heads over their mother-daughter relationship. Add Ethan Hawke playing Binoche’s American wannabe-actor husband, who doesn’t speak much French, and we’ve touched three continents with an excuse to have enough English dialogue to perhaps lure American audiences.
Fabienne (Deneuve) is, appropriately, playing a once-beloved film actress who is reluctantly (and not too gracefully) approaching the sunset of her career. The leading roles that used to fall into her lap are captured by younger stars to whom Fabienne now plays second fiddle. Within this movie, Fabienne has been offered a bit part in another movie. Her role is that of an aging daughter whose younger-looking mother (Manon Clavel) lives in space to avoid dying from a fatal disease. The sci-fi setup is a not so subtle metaphor for Fabienne’s off-screen relationship with her daughter Lumir (Binoche).
Fabienne’s hopes for maintaining relevancy are also invested in the release of her autobiography. The “tell all” book is good reason for Lumir to come visit from the U.S., bringing along her husband Hank (Hawke) and daughter Charlotte (Clémentine Grenier). But soon after Lumir cracks open the cover she recognizes there’s more fiction than fact on the pages. Is seems her mother continues to live within a fabricated fantasy that has room for only one leading lady.
The most interesting moments in this film happen when The Truth dips its dialogue into exploring the temptation to live our lives within the safety of our own script. Even more compulsive is the desire to make ourselves into the character we want others to believe we are. But don’t expect these messages to be delivered in a bullet-point handout. The mix of French and English (subtitles are available) and leisurely paced storytelling will be anything but appealing to audiences who aren’t up to some deep thinking and focused attention. Alcohol use, often to drown disappointment, a character’s cigarette addiction and some sexual innuendo may pose additional concerns.
Is it worth the worth the investment? Perhaps. If you are a parent, older teen or film buff willing to dive into a self-examination of scripts you have come to rely on in your own life, then you may find a little bit of The Truth in this movie.Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, and Ethan Hawke. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release July 3, 2020. Updated July 9, 2020
Watch the trailer for The Truth
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Truth rated PG? The Truth is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic and suggestive elements, and for smoking and brief language.
Violence: A narcissistic woman is so preoccupied with her own life that she neglects or imposes on others. A child describes being punished by being locked in a cellar – and then forgotten there and left for hours. Dysfunctional family relationships are portrayed.
Sexual Content: A married couple is seen in bed together, apparently naked but covered by bedclothes. A woman is seen in bed with her live-in boyfriend. Characters mention using sexual relations to get what they want. A mother asks her daughter about her sex life.
Profanity: A couple of terms of deity are used as expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A woman drinks and smokes frequently, often to escape from reality. Other characters are shown drinking. A man with a past alcohol problem is enticed into drinking again. Characters are shown in an inebriated state. Prescription drug use is implied.
Page last updated July 9, 2020
The Truth Parents' Guide
Fabienne makes no excuses for her behavior towards others. Why? What does she say is her most important priority in life? What has her ambition done to the relationships she has with others? How do you think she feels about the people in her life? How do they respond to her?
Why do you think Lumir comes to visit her mother? How does she react to what her mother has written in her published memoir? How are both women affected by the script of the sci-fi movie Fabienne has a role in?
How reliable is memory? How can perspective color the way a person recalls an event? How do recollections differ between the characters in this film? In what ways does that pull them together and apart? How might you address the differences in memories with the people in your life?
Related home video titles:
Judyportrays another aging star of the silver screen. Anywhere But Here depicts another dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. A mother and her daughter work out their relationship in an ABBA-themed musical, Mamma Mia!
A strained father/son relationship comes to the big screen in Sometimes Always Never.