Sandra, Samuel and their visually impaired son Daniel have been living in a remote mountain location for the past year. When Samuel is found dead outside the house, an investigation for death in suspicious circumstances is launched. Amidst the uncertainty, Sandra is indicted: was it suicide or homicide? A year later Daniel attends his mother’s trial, a veritable dissection of his parents’ relationship.
Anatomy of a Fall: A Palme d’Or-winning exploration of marriage, betrayal, and murder
Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall is a complex and unsettling psychological thriller that won the Palme d’Or at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. The film tells the story of Sandra (Sandra Hüller), a German writer living in a remote chalet in the French Alps with her French husband Samuel (Swann Arlaud) and their blind son Daniel (Milo Machado Graner). One day, Samuel is found dead in the snow below the chalet, and Sandra becomes the prime suspect in his murder trial.
Triet’s film is not a conventional whodunit. Instead, it is a slow-burning exploration of the complex dynamics of a marriage and the ways in which betrayal and resentment can fester and explode. As the trial unfolds, we learn more about Sandra and Samuel’s relationship, which was marked by both love and tension. Sandra is a fiercely independent woman who often feels suffocated by Samuel’s demands. He, in turn, is jealous of her success and feels insecure about his own place in the family.
The film also explores the impact of Sandra’s murder trial on her young son. Daniel is forced to testify against his own mother, and he struggles to come to terms with the possibility that she may have killed his father. Triet’s portrayal of Daniel is particularly poignant, as she shows how the trauma of the trial has a profound impact on his emotional development.
Anatomy of a Fall is a challenging but rewarding film. It is a beautifully shot and well-acted drama that explores the dark side of human nature with intelligence and compassion. The film is not for the faint of heart, but it is sure to stay with you long after you have seen it.
Here are some of the things that critics have said about the film:
- “A mesmerizing and disturbing psychological thriller.” – The Hollywood Reporter
- “A brilliant and complex exploration of marriage, betrayal, and murder.” – Variety
- “A powerful and emotionally resonant film that will stay with you long after you have seen it.” – The Playlist
- “A masterclass in suspense and character development.” – IndieWire
If you are looking for a thought-provoking and well-made thriller, then Anatomy of a Fall is definitely worth checking out.