Movie review: ‘In the Name of My Daughter’ a French film that makes you go ‘huh?’
‘In the Name of My Daughter” is one of those French films that leave you going “huh?”
For some reason, the French seem to revel in going “huh”? We Americans tend to prefer more solid, precise endings: This happened because of that and now I can sleep. The French apparently revel in insomnia.
The story is based on a real incident that was a major scandal in France while comparatively unheard of here in the U.S. Then again, how many French people have heard of Honey Boo-Boo?
It starts off with Agnes Le Roux (Adele Haenel) returning home after divorcing while still young. Her mother, Renee (Catherine Deneuve), has sent her lawyer, Maurice (Guillame Canet), to pick her up at the airport.
Renee has inherited control of a large, prestigious casino, and Maurice has become her trusted adviser. As he’s advising, he’s also becoming friends with the rebellious Agnes, who resents her mother, hates the casino, and just wants to cash out her share of the business.
That friendship eventually turns to love on Agnes’ part. This is nothing new for Maurice — he already has a wife and son and assorted mistresses — but Agnes falls big.
Then Renee essentially stabs Maurice in the back. Ever the lawyer, he arranges for a Mafia kingpin to pay Agnes the equivalent of her inheritance, if she’ll just oppose her mother at a casino board meeting. Agnes complies, her mother is essentially ruined, and Agnes gets her money.
But Maurice ends up with a big problem. Turns out Agnes is none too strong in the mental stability department and she craves his attention all the time. Hey, he’s busy with the wife and other mistresses (ah, the French). So Agnes grows despondent and eventually disappears, leaving all her money to Maurice.
Flash forward 20 years. Maurice is on trial for the murder of Agnes, who’s never resurfaced. Did he kill her, did she kill herself, did little green men take her to outer space?
We’ll never know. It’s a French movie. Go ask your mistress.
‘In the Name of My Daughter’
Rated R for sexuality, nudity and some language
Running time: 116 minutes