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Best Picture Binge - Anatomy of a Fall

Did she do it?

Anatomy of a Fall is a 2023 French legal drama film directed by Justine Triet, written by Justine Triet, produced by Les Films Pelléas and Les Films de Pierre, and distributed by Le Pacte. It stars Sandra Hüller and Milo Machado-Graner. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

"Sometimes we fight together and sometimes we fight alone, and sometimes we fight against each other, that happens." - Sandra Voyter


When her husband dies from a mysterious fall off of a balcony, Sandra is accused of his murder and put on trial in front of the only witness: her visually impaired son.

The Sweet

Anatomy of a Fall was one of the Best Picture nominees I was most looking forward to watching. Most of the nominees that I hadn't seen this year are arthouse dramas: Poor Things, Maestro, Past Lives, The Holdovers...but Anatomy of a Fall was a little bit of a mystery-thriller, which is much more up my alley.

What surprised me about this film was that the thing I enjoyed most was the court drama aspect. The first half of this movie is kind of a detective procedural and the second half is a court drama. I thought that the court drama part was very compelling and well written. It felt like a very different kind of court drama than I was used to. It didn't have emotional outbursts and big, swelling moments of victory and defeat. It was a much quieter film than I expected, and I think that that worked in its favor.

The film also has a pretty good ending. When I first finished the film, I thought it was a bit anticlimactic. There was no big twist reveal at the end. But as I thought about it more, I kind of liked that. So many of these movies are concerned with shocking the audience and giving us some crazy revelation that turns the entire story on its head, but when those big twists happen, they oftentimes destroy the movie or seem unrealistic. Anatomy of a Fall instead offers a satisfying ending that feels true to the story and characters, which I think really, really worked.

I think the ending also plays into one of the movie's other big strengths: it feels very real. The film almost has a documentary-esc style. As far as I can recall, there is no non-diegetic music (music that the characters cannot hear). If there is any, it's used very sparingly. I think the sense of realism helped you get invested in these characters and this story much easier and just made the whole film have a very different feel to it.

Finally, the performances are incredible here. Sandra Hüller, the lead actress, was obviously incredible. She completely deserves her nomination. But I think Milo Machado-Graner, who plays the son, was just as good as Hüller. Playing a blind/visually impaired character is incredibly difficult for a veteran actor, but Machado-Graner is a kid. I was shocked to see that he didn't receive a nomination. He was fantastic.

The Sour

A common theme with the Best Picture nominees is that they are very slow, and Anatomy of a Fall is no different.

Like I said, the film is essentially divided into two halves, with the first being more of a detective procedural. I think that first half (which is maybe more like the first third) is really, really slow and honestly kind of generic. It felt like the film was trudging through the investigative part so that it could get to the trial. Whereas the courtroom drama part is done in a pretty unique and cool way, the procedural part feels very by-the-numbers. And that was disappointing.

I also think that these characters can be very unlikable at times. This is kind of built into the premise, because it's about how a trial can tear families apart, but both Sandra (the mother) and Daniel (the son) have moments where you really, really don't like them. I think the film is written very well, but these unlikable moments do make it hard to connect with the characters at times. There's a certain moment involving Daniel and his dog near the end of the movie that makes you really dislike Daniel, and it seems like they could've come up with a better idea to get from point A to point B.

Does This Movie Deserve It's Best Picture Nomination?

I think this is exactly the type of movie that should be nominated for Best Picture. It's a foreign film, so it likely isn't as popular in the United States. The film stands out as a different type of legal drama. No one in the cast or crew is a big name, and I think that makes it even cooler that this movie was nominated. I truly believe that this is, quality-wise, one of the ten best films to come out this year. I am of the belief that Best Picture nominees should combine quality filmmaking and true entertainment and I think Anatomy of a Fall definitely does that.

So, yes, Anatomy of a Fall deserves it's Best Picture nod.

Final Thoughts and Score

Despite a slow start and some minor issues I have with the characters, Anatomy of a Fall really gets going in its back half and emerges as one of the better Best Picture nominees this year.

I will go Savory here. Age range is 14+.


Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)

"Anatomy of a Fall"

Fun Factor: 7/10

Acting: 9/10

Story: 8/10

Characters: 8/10

Quality: 9/10

Directed by Justine Triet

Rated R for moderate bloody violence, sexual content, language, disturbing themes and images, thematic elements

Released on August 23, 2023

Sandra Hüller as Sandra Voyter

Milo Machado-Graner as Daniel Maleski

Swann Arlaud as Vincent Renzi

Samuel Theis as Samuel Maleski

Antoine Reinartz as The Prosecutor

Jehnny Beth as Marge Berger


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