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The French Missed Connection: In the Name of My Daughter 

Wednesday, May 20 2015
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A true crime story of money and power and sex and betrayal and missing persons and the mafia, André Téchiné's French Riviera-set film stars Catherine Deneuve as a casino owner and still somehow manages to be dull. It is to Téchiné's credit that In the Name of My Daughter keeps its cool enough to shrug off the salacious theatrics a less secure director surely would have indulged, but in hindsight even a little heat might have been nice too. The point where detached French-movie sophistication tips over into forgettability seems to have been passed before this film, for all its calmly agile camerawork, even began. What's left is not really a thriller, though it delineates a fateful power struggle between the hotelier, her attorney (Guillaume Canet), and her daughter (Adèle Haenel), whose face does draw the eye and comes to signify what's at stake. In real life it was the daughter who eventually went missing, with the attorney accused of murdering her: an injustice still unresolved after 30 years. Téchiné's tacked-on courtroom epilogue delivers a verdict only to overturn it with further screen-title postscripts, catching the factual accuracy of thwarted closure, yet somehow only glancing at its real emotional resonance.

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Jonathan Kiefer

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SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

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