Review of "Our Children (DVD)"

published 24/11/2014 | thedevilinme
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"Sometimes women do terrible things to"

Our Children (DVD)

Our Children (DVD)

Genre – World Cinema
Run Time – 111 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – Belgium
Awards – 8 Wins & 9 nominations
Amazon – £5.99 (£6.50 Blue Ray)
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Our Children was inspired by a real-life Belgian family tragedy in the late 1990s, big news over there. The rules on the value of children beyond these shores are very different, boys often more valuable than girls, ten million less Indians girls then there should be in the world. Boys produce dowries, girls don’t. We know more cot deaths than we are comfortable with are probably murder in the west but women are given the benefit of doubt in court so we don’t have to deal with unpalatable truths. Sometimes women crack from the pressure of young babies and being home alone. A screaming baby annoys everyone. We choose to blame the men in their lives or social services to lift that collective anxiety. We, as a society, have chosen women as the weaker sex and treat them that way in court through mitigation. A woman can use booze as a ubiquitous defense in court for a rape allegation whereas alcohol is the number one witness for the prosecution for men. The British police get overloaded with domestic abuse cases and so our cynical government increased prison sentences for domestic violence, knowing full well women would be less likely to press charges if the wage earner was likely to be locked up. That’s how we reduce sexual and abuse crime in the modern age. You only need look at Rotherham. It’s always been out of sight, out of mind the attitude. That is fundamentally wrong.

Our Children deals with that of the mentally trapped woman, where she has succumbed to alpha males to make the big decisions and mom is left at home with the kids and her career on the shelf. It explores race, sexuality and immigration in the marital mix, asking the question on just how much someone would compromise just to get married and accept financial security over happiness, and where that deceit may end up. An excellent cast brings us one of the most intense Benelux movies for while. This is painful stuff folks.

Cast

Émilie Dequenne ... Murielle
Niels Arestrup ... André Pinget
Tahar Rahim ... Mounir
Jean-Charles Hautera ... Professeur Maryns
Stéphane Bissot ... Françoise
Daniel Feis ... Le pianiste
Baya Belal ... Rachida
Raoui ... Fatima
Redouane Behache ... Samir

Plot

Attractive twenty something Belgium Teacher Murille (Émilie Dequenne) is in love with handsome twenty something Mounir (Tahar Rahim of ‘The Prophet’). They met at college in Brussels and plan to marry. Mounir is Moroccan and came to Belgium under the sponsorship of Niels André Pinget (Niels Arestrup) to study and then secure his citizenship, whom he decides to live with in Belgium. To save the young couple money they decide it’s ok if Murille moves into the flat with the doctor and Mounir to play happy families. It’s a strange set up, the aging doctor not wanting to lose the friendship of his young Moroccan friend, uncomfortably over-protective. People are talking back in his home village.

But kids are on the way and tension rises, the couple now married and the flat filling up. Murille no longer likes the arrangement and wants to leave with her husband and get their own place. He now works at Pinget’s surgery and The Doctor is not happy and still doesn’t want to let the kid go. A compromise is agreed with a bigger house rented by the doctor for them all to live in. With three little girls and still no boy in the family she becomes increasingly withdrawn with the situation and gives up her job to care for the kids and concede her independence. Her situation is not helped by her husband’s indifference to it, especially when he asks her feckless sister to marry Mounirs cousin Fatima (Raoui) for cash and a green card. It’s beginning to dawn on her that maybe she has made one compromise too far for an easy life and there is no way out.

Results

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This is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. As a psychological drama goes it’s subtle to say the least and when the final act comes its shocking. The people who know the real story from the news there will no doubt get more from it as they know whats coming, whereas I found it hard to identify with the performances in some aspects. But as it’s a true story it does ask a lot of questions on how much we would concede to have what we would call a happy life. We know some women marry into money and give up on love and it’s no big deal, as we know some men marry to simply please their parents and culture. Director Joachim Lafosse makes the film interesting by leaving it up to you to decide why each of the protagonists do what they do in the film to end up where they do. Is Mounir in a secret gay relationship with the doctor and has married for a green card? Is Murille going along with it she is unbalanced in some way and lost in the romance of it and the cheap rent? Or is she simply there to bare her husband a son and so status back in Morocco? It’s never made clear. The actual news story suggests she was unstable from a young age and simply exploited by a Moroccan family.

Its engaging stuff as you try to figure out why this true story was so big in Belgium and how will it end. We know women are far more likely to suffer from depression as they are often the ones most controlled and suppressed and so you could sympathies with that. I firmly believe that depression comes from your inability to make choices and so locked into your situation and so escape. Kids do that, why middle-class women tend to suffer a lot. Would you sacrifice your career for a man and kids? Post natal depression is exactly that. I have these kids to look after for the next 18 years while my partner is out there I the big wide world making money and probably bonking his secretary. I wouldn’t want to be a woman with the biological clock ticking.


RATINGS

Imdb.com – 6.7/10.0 (1,682 votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 93% critic’s approval
Metacriitc.com – 79% critic’s approval
Special Features

NONE

Critics

Screen International –‘Our Children isn't simply a story of a mother with post-natal depression. It's much more oblique, and, like any family, complicated than that’.

New York Times –‘At once beautifully realized and brutally uncompromising ...’

New Yorker –‘There is no whodunit here -- the horror is plain in the opening shots -- and the how is presented with great restraint, but the why remains veiled and mysterious long after the film has ended’.

FilmForward.com –‘Challengingly takes the anti-CNN approach to a horrific crime, as upsetting . . . in trying to make the unfathomable credible. . .’


Total Film –‘Expertly avoiding sensationalism, this potently acted drama reminds us of Jean Renoir's celebrated dictum, that everyone has their reasons’.

HitFix –‘Aware that a story of such grave human weight and consequence demands to be told exactingly if it is to be told at all, Lafosse's film succeeds most profoundly by refusing to phrase the inevitable question -- how could she? -- as a rhetorical one

Film School rejects –‘A quietly violent film that will both assault and deeply move its audience.
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Comments on this review

  • Icypink published 21/12/2014
    Exceptional.
  • euphie published 05/12/2014
    e :o)
  • Scotlass712 published 27/11/2014
    Back with the "E"!!
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Product Information : Our Children (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Country Of Origin: France

Genre: Drama

Sub Genre: Psychological

DVD Region: DVD

Actor: Arestrup, Niels

Director(s) (Last name, First name): Lafosse, Joachim

Title: O

EAN: 5060265150075

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Listed on Ciao since: 17/11/2014