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Film Review: Claire Darling

Director:    Julie Bertuccelli

Cast:    Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Alice Taglioni, Laure Calamy, Samir Guesmi, Olivier Rabourdin, Johan Leysen, Colomba Giovanni, Simon Thomas, Mona Goinard, Joseph Flammer, Lewine Weber-Monfort, Amine Mejri, Julien Chavrial

Rating:    M

Running Time:    94

Australian Distributor:    Palace Films


Julie Bertuccelli’s Claire Darling is an intriguing and poignant story based on a best-selling book by Texan author Lynda Rutledge. It looks at the relationship between a mother and her daughter and the significance of possessions that hold memories of life’s experiences. The furniture and objects are mostly antique and ornately beautiful.         

One morning Claire starts cleaning up in her spacious country house, hiring local youth to help carry all the belongings from the estate to the front yard. At a spontaneous private flea market she whimsically sells all of her precious furniture, handmade toy rarities, collectible editions of books and fragile jewellery. It does not take long for the whole village to literally gather at her place and strike at this sell-off.

Antiques expert Martine (Laure Calamy) questions the strange mood of Claire, who sometimes looks lost over her flea market. She therefore contacts Claire’s daughter Marie (played by Deneuve’s real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni), who had already quarrelled with her mother many years ago.  For Claire, her daughter is not the only visitor from the past.  Also some memories of beautiful times but also sad days can be found again.

At first glance Claire Darling is one of those livelier movie dramas about ageing, as seen more and more often in recent years. The film has all the makings of something great: characters with intriguing arcs, mystery, love and comical old people. The story follows the effects of age on the mind and has a great premise to connect with audience members; losing our memory is something that we all fear. 

It was somewhat disheartening to sit through the film, hopeful and expectant to find solutions, only to be denied the satisfaction of unresolved questions. The end left me shocked and in disbelief, and not the good kind. The climactic finale of the film was out of the blue and highly unrealistic.  I had expected something good to come out of the film.





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