2019 Film Reviews – 59: By The Grace Of God [dir. Francois Ozon; 2018]

There is a great deal to admire in François Ozon’s level-headed presentation of a real, recent case which saw the Diocese Of Lyon having to address several instances of historic child abuse. But I suppose one of the main aspects of the film that struck me was the skill with which the director showed disparate, visually distinct stories come together – as the victims drew closer to each other and benefited from mutual support – and then eventually veer away from each other again – as differences in people’s motivations became clear and various needs were either fulfilled or abandoned. Full of such telling, astute observations, the film rarely loses focus – its use of flashbacks is questionable, but forgivable – and as a result becomes one of the most thoughtful and intelligent cinematic treatments of this most painful of subjects.

Dariush

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