Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 16, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Screen Anatomy of a Fall

Anatomy of a Fall

Brooke Taylor discusses the 'nuanced performances' that subtly make 'Anatomy of the Fall' a watch worthy of your time.
5 mins read
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Anatomy of a Fall | Official Trailer

Anatomy of a Fall is perhaps at first not the most obviously appealing film, the run time is long (two and a half hours), and the dialogue is constantly changing between English and French – which can be tricky to follow if you’re not a fast reader. That being said, after the first half an hour I found myself deeply invested in the lives of the characters. The beating heart of the film is the marriage between the German writer Sandra, and her French husband Samuel, who is a teacher with aspirations of writing. It is a marriage that we only learn about through its worst moments retrospectively, through the trail to determine whether Samuel’s fatal fall from the top storey of their chalet was self-inflicted, or an attack by his wife. 

The beating heart of the film is the marriage between the German writer Sandra, and her French husband Samuel, who is a teacher with aspirations of writing.

The characters in this film are some of the most realistically complex I’ve seen on screen in a while; there is no obvious hero, no one to root for, just two people with their own flaws, egos, beliefs and perspectives, navigating a relationship with over a decade of history.  The film’s main effort is to convince the audience of the love in their relationship, while simultaneously convincing the on-screen jury, and this creates such a unique spectacle that I felt I was watching something truly original. There are no typical warm toned flashbacks of the couple’s hypothetical ‘hay-day’, no montages of them on holidays, or in bed, or in front of a Christmas tree, just cold and unrelenting reality. We hear recordings of their nasty fights, we see bruises, hear of affairs and yet still, in spite of all this, I ended the film believing that these two people had genuinely been in love. This was not a conventional on-screen marriage; ‘good until it wasn’t’, it portrayed the reality of committing to a life with someone, of seeing and adjusting to all their flaws and choosing to keep loving them everyday despite those problems. 

We hear recordings of their nasty fights, we see bruises, hear of affairs and yet still, in spite of all this, I ended the film believing that these two people had genuinely been in love.

If I had to describe the performances in this film in one word, it would be subtle. Despite the high stakes nature of the scenes, the actors retain control – delivering quietly nuanced performances which enhance the realism further. The film asserts a certain confidence through these choices, and it takes powerful writing to back such risks – and I’d say it pays off. The couple’s big argument is my favourite scene in Anatomy of a Fall, the writing shines it’s brightest as we watch Sandra and Samuel have an argument we know they’ve had time and time again, and they jab at each other in ways that only people who truly know each other can. This is where the real anatomy of the fall is; it’s not in the logistics of Samuel’s physical fall, but uncovering the inner workings of the fall in their relationship, after years of unresolved difficulties. It’s a truly original film, and one that I am glad I took the time to watch. 

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