Film Review – French legal thriller, Anatomy of a Fall

Book Brief | Jan 2024

The film Anatomy of a Fall is directed by Justine Triet from the screenplay that she co-wrote with Arthur Harari.

Good Reading’s resident film reviewer recently saw the film and gives us his verdict.


Classification: MA15+ (strong themes, suicide references, violence) running time: 2 hours 32 minutes; in English and French (with English subtitles) filming location: France; director/co-writer: Justine Triet; genre: crime, drama.


When the film opens, Sandra (Sandra Hüller) who is German is married to Samuel (Samuel Theis) who is French. They communicate in English and live in France. They have an 11-year-old son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner) who is partially blind. Daniel speaks French and English and has Snoops, a border collie (Messi) as a companion. When the lad returns from a walk he discovers his father dead, lying on the ground below an attic window that is open. The police consider the death is suspicious, investigate and charges the wife with murder.

The film is a slow burn but heats up when we move into the courtroom. The prosecuting counsel ruthlessly exposes intimate details of Sandra’s marriage and life. He provocatively and mercilessly details a suggested scenario that I felt was forcing Sandra to prove her innocence. And fight she did … magnificently.

Anatomy of a Fall is a gripping drama that has a clever director and excellent ensemble acting. I have one criticism: at two-and-a-half hours it is too long. The time in court could’ve been reduced without loss of tension.

The film won the Palme d’Or and Messi the Palm Dog at Cannes Film Festival. It has been nominated for five Academy Awards with the winners to be announced on the 11th March (Australia time).


Reviewed by Clive Hodges

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