After Love (L'Economie du couple) (NR)

Comedy 100 min. September 1, 2017
By Chuck Wilson
Great loves are often reduced to a prosaic division of property, a fate the French couple in the fine new film, After Love, face with a whirling-dervish mix of fury and grief. After 15 years together, Marie (Bérénice Bejo) and Boris (Cédric Kahn) are clearly miserable, but they have twin daughters to raise, and an immediate practical problem: they can't agree on how to split the proceeds from the sale of their apartment. Boris, who refuses to move out, wants half, since his improvements increased the home's value, while an exasperated Marie, who paid for it, thinks he deserves a third (at best). With two gifted actors leading the way, Belgian director Joachim Lafosse (Our Children, Private Property), a near master at age 42, finds revelation in the rituals of daily life, which so often involve the shuttling of active children either to bed or out the door for the day's activities. A long dinner party, which finds Marie and Boris's friends taking sides in the couple's intensifying war, is a virtuoso set piece. Nearly every beat of this film feels spontaneous and true, so it's jarring when Lafosse and co-writers Fanny Burdino and Mazarine Pingeot fall back on medical crisis clichés in the home stretch. The forced ending is regrettable, but when a movie is this good, all is forgiven.
Joachim Lafosse Bérénice Bejo, Cédric Kahn, Jade Soentjens, Margaux Soentjens, Marthe Keller Mazarine Pingeot, Fanny Burdino, Joachim Lafosse, Thomas van Zuylen Distrib Films US

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