The Accusation

Directed by: Yvan Attal
Distributed by: TBD

Written by Jeff Sparks


“The Accusation” is a courtroom drama populated by many members of the Gainsbourg family with Charlotte Gainsbourg, her son Ben Attal, and the director who is her husband Yvan Attal. In the film, Ben Attal plays a man named Alexandre who is facing a rape trial. The allegations are levied by his mother’s boyfriend’s daughter while his opinionated mother (Gainsbourg) struggles with her political stances while seeing her son in this situation. At first, it appears the film will take the conventional route and play things close to the vest until the very end, but it becomes apparent rather quickly what actually happened on the night of the crime in question. The film attempts to show that not all allegations are black and white. When Alexandre is first arrested he appears believable in his defense, until the victim, Mila, tells her story. Directly after this, it’s easy to pick up that the two had different ways of perceiving what happened that night and that the crime was potentially not intentional. Since both the defendant and the victim’s families were intertwined beforehand the case is personal and has a strong impact on both families which raises some interesting questions about loyalty and fault. Though they weren’t delved into as deeply as I’d hoped for.

Gainsbourg as the mother of the accused plays a strongly opinionated political debater. Throughout her son’s trial, she questions her beliefs and even begins to think about changing her stance on these issues as she watches her son fight for his life in a convoluted case over a crime that she previously thought was always only one way or the other. She also loses her boyfriend over the crime, which causes her to feel helpless. She has the most interesting character arc in the film and I believe it would have benefited from following her more closely. Her son Ben Attal does a decent job though his character didn’t have as much depth or nuance as Gainsbourg’s.

Nearly half the film takes place in the courtroom which was interesting at first but the more it went on the more I felt I’d seen enough. Attal turns the camera left to right often, starting with the defendant giving his testimony and then sweeping to the right showing the jury and finally revealing the victim’s reaction. Though it isn’t anything special, the film benefits from Gainsbourg’s strong presence who works very well alongside her son, Ben. In all their scenes together she had a sparkle about her and an adoring energy that a mother always has for her child.

“The Accusation” Trailer

“The Accusation” is awaiting North American distribution.

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