The root causes of a terrible tragedy, borne out of desperation, are explored in meticulous yet highly subjective detail in this profoundly moving film, machine-tooled to near-perfection by Belgian filmmaker Lafosse. Inspired by true events, it begins as Murielle (Émilie Duquenne) and Mounir (A Prophet’s Tahar Rahim) fall in love, get married, and move into the Brussels home of Mounir’s adoptive father, Dr André Pinget (Niels Arestrup). As their family grows, Murielle becomes increasingly sidelined by the domineering paterfamilias and his accommodating son, neither of whom seems aware that she is struggling to cope with the burden of her responsibilities, leading to a tragic outcome which, in retrospect, seems inevitable.
VERDICT Three top-drawer performances and a steadily building sense of dread elevate what, on the surface, appears to be a domestic drama, but becomes a heart-rending portrayal of a tragedy waiting to happen. ★★★★