Venice Film Festival: Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘The Truth’ Opens Festival with High Praise Reactions for Lead Actress Catherine Deneuve

The fall movie season is in full swing as the 76th Venice Film Festival begins with Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s opening night French drama, “The Truth” at the Sala Grande. The film marks the Japanese filmmaker’s first trek into a different dialect in his feature film career, just fresh off last year’s Palme d’Or-winning film and official Oscar-nominated selection from Japan last year, “Shoplifters.”

Kore-eda’s new film stars Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke, Clementine Grenier and Ludivine Sagnier. The film follows the story of Lumir (Binoche) and her actress mother Fabienne (Deneuve) who has just written a memoir titled “The Truth.” First reviews for Kore-eda’s latest dropped Wednesday afternoon, just hours after its premiere.

(left to right) Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche
(Venice Film Festival)

For The Playlist, Jessica Kiang celebrates Catherine Deneuve’s performance in “The Truth”:

“In every barbed exchanged, in every imperious gesture — and especially in those moments when the facade briefly cracks — Deneuve finds riveting notes of fragility beneath Fabienne’s fearsome, formidable self-control. So perhaps the answer to the quandary of where to place “The Truth” in the canon is simply this: It’s a Catherine Deneuve movie. In fact, it’s the late-career Catherine Deneuve movie she has always deserved, but that, for some strange reason, she had to wait for until now…”

For Awards Watch, Roberto Ruggio writes that the film “will not strike a chord in everyone’s hearts but that will linger”:

“The Truth is an imperfect movie that nonetheless proves Kore-eda’s prowess in describing the human experience. And while the script sometimes relies too much on its own tricks, resulting in occasional verbosity, it is dense and rich, made even more worthy by an outstanding lead cast. Catherine Deneuve is absolutely titanic in her portrayal of Fabienne…”

Venice Film Festival

Xan Brooks of The Guardian writes that the film “lacks the freshness and wildness of the director’s best work”:

“The Truth is the most refined, stately curtain-raiser I can recall seeing here, a picture that likes to stroll and murmur where others run and shout. It’s handsome, it’s amusing, it knows exactly where it’s going. All that is missing is that crucial fifth gear.”

For The Wrap, Alonso Duralde writes of the film’s continuation to Kore-eda’s running theme of human intricacies:

“If Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” was about discarded people coming together to form a family, perhaps “The Truth” is the opposite, where flesh-and-blood relations have to figure out how to forgive, or at least to understand, each other. Even working in another language and on another continent, he once again captures the intricacies of the human condition.”

An opening night attendee tweeted their first reaction out of Venice Film Festival via Twitter:

IFC Films will be releasing “The Truth” in US theaters. No release date is set as of now.

Were you at the Venice premiere of “The Truth?” Share your thoughts or anticipations for the film in the comments below!