Custody review: A a horribly engrossing French drama


As Legrand is a former child actor it’s hardly surprisingly that he gets such an unfussy performance from his young star.

But what really impressed me was the way he used his camera. Thomas Gioria plays Julien, a 12-year-old boy who thinks he’s seen the last of his violent father.

But when a court grants Antoine (Denis Ménochet) joint custody, Julien is forced to suffer excruciating weekend visits. Legrand uses static cameras to trap his characters in the frame but he also uses them to build tension.

In one nerveshredding sequence we watch his daughter nervously eyeing the front door while singing at her birthday party.

Legrand knows precisely when to reveal what’s happening outside. French cinema may have found a new auteur.