Review: ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ Investigates a Troubled Marriage

Review: ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ Investigates a Troubled Marriage March 2, 2024

In Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall,” Sandra Hüller delivers a powerful performance as a writer grappling with accusations of her husband’s death. The film opens with tension as Sandra is disturbed by her husband Samuel’s (Samuel Theis) loud music from the attic, setting the stage for a narrative brimming with mystery and emotional depth.

Sandra Hüller stars in ‘Anatomy of a Fall.” Image courtesy of M2K Films.

Although Samuel’s death is initially assumed a suicide, Sandra soon finds herself at the center of a legal battle, with the prosecutor convinced of her guilt. Swann Arlaud shines as Vincent Renz, Sandra’s friend and lawyer, navigating the complexities of the case alongside her. Milo Machado-Graner delivers a poignant portrayal of Daniel Maleski, Sandra and Samuel’s son, whose perspective becomes crucial as the story unfolds.

“Anatomy of a Fall” delves into the intricacies of Sandra and Samuel’s troubled marriage, revealing layers of resentment and guilt. The couple, portrayed as broken individuals attempting to hold onto their crumbling relationship, grapple with past traumas and unspoken grievances. The use of English as a common language (a compromise Sandra insists on) adds another layer of complexity to their dynamic, set against the backdrop of Grenoble, France.

Throughout the film, themes of infidelity and betrayal simmer beneath the surface, adding depth to the narrative and highlighting the complexities of human relationships. As the legal drama unfolds, the focus shifts to Daniel, whose belief in his mother’s innocence becomes pivotal in determining the truth behind his father’s death.

Not merely a legal thriller, “Anatomy of a Fall” is a nuanced exploration of love, loss, and the intricacies of marriage. Couples watching the film are confronted with the raw honesty of Sandra and Samuel’s struggles, prompting reflection on their own relationships and the importance of forgiveness, and moving forward. When spouses choose to honor and serve each other, following the 1 Corinthians 13 route, they will not be “rude . . . self-seeking . . . easily angered” or “keep a record of wrongs.”

Hüller’s portrayal of Sandra is captivating, capturing the character’s internal turmoil with depth and authenticity. Machado-Graner also delivers a standout performance as Daniel, effectively conveying the young boy’s emotional journey amidst the chaos surrounding him.

“Anatomy of a Fall,” rated R for adult themes and strong language, is a compelling and thought-provoking drama that transcends its legal thriller trappings. Triet’s skilled direction, coupled with stellar performances from the cast, makes it a must-watch for audiences seeking a nuanced exploration of human emotion and the complexities of relationships.

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