SNACK at The Glasgow Film Festival 2020
Director Hirokazu Koreeda is known for making small, intimate portraits of family life in his native Japan with films like Still Walking and Shoplifters. He moves outside of that comfort zone for the first time with this distinctly French familial drama all about a reunion between screenwriter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) and her famous actress and author mother Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) who has just published her autobiography and is set to star in a new sci-fi film. What works so brilliantly for Koreeda’s native Japanese stories – low-key drama and wordy everyday interactions which are loaded with meaning – translates to be less effective here. The gentleness sometimes comes across as overly quaint. It’s elevated by the performances of two of the best actresses to ever come out of France in Binoche and Deneuve, each finding emotion and pathos in-between the lines, and Deneuve in particular punctuating with impeccable comic timing. A reflective comedy drama that admirably explores a mother-daughter relationship, strained by regrettable past actions and unfair expectations, and what it means to find ways to illuminate things left unsaid. But it’s one that never quite makes the impact suggested by its filmmaking talent.