I do love me some Hirokazu Koreeda. Yet, his latest film has fallen under the radar. Rightfully so, one might argue. The Truth explores conventions and themes far too familiar (pardon the pun) both for him and for cinema at large. It also manages to say less than most of the other movies he has made over the years.
Yet, The Truth still conceals elements worthy of admiration. I am not just talking about Ethan Hawke who, despite not saying much, astonises with the supporting presence of a man who is maturing beautifully.
I am talking about the theme of acting. The film, in fact, widely explores the relationship between an aging actress played by Catherine Deneuve and her near-estranged daughter, played by Juliette Binoche.
Without getting too lost in the subtly multi-layered plot, the observation that hit me was that on the profession of acting being a commodification of emotion. This revelation occurred to me when, towards the end, Deneuve and Binoche appear to share a legitimately tender moment of reconciliation, cut short by Deneuve’s lamentation at not having used those emotions during the scene she had filmed on set a few hours earlier.
This revelation, I feel, is at the heart of Koreeda’s film. And although it is treated too lightly to be easily perceived, I believe it to be the central observation of the entire movie.