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Past Films

Custody

  • Starring: Léa Drucker, Denis Ménochet, Thomas Gioria
  • Director: Xavier Legrand
  • Language: French
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 93 min.

Jusqu’à la garde is part of our In Translation series of recent foreign language films of note.

Miriam (Léa Drucker) and Antoine Besson (Denis Ménochet) have divorced, and Miriam is seeking sole custody of their son Julien (Thomas Gioria) to protect him from a father she claims is violent. Antoine pleads his case as a scorned dad and the appointed judge rules in favor of joint custody. A hostage to the escalating conflict between his parents, Julien is pushed to the edge to prevent the worst from happening.

"Custody embodies Legrand’s attention to detail, reverence for gripping storytelling, command of tension and, above all, direction of finely etched performances for characters major and minor. It is simmering entertainment that amounts to required viewing. "
- Doris Toumarkine, Film Journal International
"The intensity is too much to bear in the best possible way. Legrand knows exactly where to position his characters and what’s necessary to break them. It’s a steady crescendo of suspense despite his source of danger never shifting. "
- Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
"Mr. Legrand is skilled in the techniques of dread and suspense, and without sensationalizing or cheapening the story, he gives this closely observed drama the tension and urgency of a thriller. "
- A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"An almost unbearably-tense, no-holds-barred drive through the nightmare of domestic terrorism, Custody is a can’t-look-away hybrid of gruelling reality and heightened cinematic technique. The mix is jarring, as intended, and this wrenching, heart-stopping film illustrates domestic violence and obsession in a way that makes the fear real."
- Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International
"Custody plays like a more humanistic Michael Haneke film. It’s emotionally bruising but not without some glimmer of hope, personified here by a close-up of the preternaturally kind face of a 911 dispatcher. "
- Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com
"Knowingly blending realist grit with generic guile, this unrelentingly tense account of a fragmented family living in constant fear thoroughly merited the Best Director prize at the Venice Film Festival. "
- David Parkinson, Empire
"'Custody' can be difficult, even wrenching to watch, but it always plays fair with the audience, and the experience, worth every minute expended, is impossible to forget."
- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Legrand operates in the raw social realist tradition of such auteurs as Maurice Pialat and the Dardenne brothers, stripping away sentimentality in favor of direct, observational filmmaking."
- Peter Debruge, Variety
"We've all seen these sorts of domestic bogeymen before in any number of Lifetime movies. But rarely are they presented with the matter-of-fact naturalism that Legrand brings to his Venice Silver Lion winner."
- Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

Showtimes

  • Friday, 8/24 tbd