Directed by Estelle Artus
Country: USA / France
Estelle Artus, a first-time French director/screenwriter based in New York, presents a solidly weaved drama, probing the challenging theme of motherhood and how it may radically change lives in accordance to the nature of the options made.
For the story’s central character, Veronica (Irina Abraham), an internationally acclaimed pianist born in Belarus and settled in New York, the things were a bit taken to the extreme since she completely put her professional life aside to take care of her son, Keoshka.
Veronica only talks about herself with her octogenarian mother, who lives in Minsk, because she didn't make a single friend in the city in four years.
The few occasions to socialize are when she accompanies her husband, Paul (Pascal Yen-Pfister), an ambitious French stockbroker, to his habitual dinners with friends. Most of these gatherings take place in the apartment of Paul’s cousin, Adele (Nathalie Bryant), a spiteful socialite who sent her 8-year-old son to a boarding school in order to keep her job and constantly disdains Veronica’s new lifestyle and immoderate mother-child attachment.
Clearly, Veronica feels overwhelmed in the face of Adele’s cynical commentaries, a situation that is aggravated by Paul’s scornful posture. Actually, Paul is a very curious character whom we never see showing any type of affection for his kid. Besides, he has never coped with Veronica’s decision of sacrificing her once brilliant career to become a homestay mother.
Progressively, a suffocating pressure infiltrates in the family.
It's devastating to see Veronika struggling with herself when she’s forced to hire a nanny to stay with Keoshka for a couple hours, the time she joined Paul and his friends at a local bar. However, the scene with the nanny was the film’s weakest moment since the unlikely sympathy that arises from the women’s interaction feels phony and obtuse.
If the tension already reigned in Veronica and Paul’s kingdom, it reaches its peak when the unsatisfied husband becomes deeply fascinated with an old acquainted, Amanda (Eloise Eonnet), a younger and narcissist emergent pianist and singer.
Ms. Artus approach at this particular point was more suggestive than direct, gaining some points in the intrigue’s development.
Enveloped in an inviting indie ambiance, “According to Her” showcases outstanding performances and is packed with rich visual and emotional details.
The camera soars over a demanding New York at the sound of convenient classical pieces that alternate between orchestrated and solo-piano, giving a deeper perspective to Steven Latta’s radiant cinematography.
Even if too radical in its conclusion and exhibiting a handful of scenes with some margin to be improved, the film, spoken in three different languages, spread an appealing charm while effectively conveyed its message.