Review: A Thousand Times Goodnight

There are some truly engrossing scenes in Erik Poppe’s A Thousand Times Goodnight. I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to decide which.

There are some truly engrossing scenes in Erik Poppe’s A Thousand Times Goodnight. I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to decide which. There are scenes – especially that which opens this Special Grand Prix of the jury winner at the 2013 Montreal World Film Festival – in which you watch top war photojournalist Rebecca (Juliette Binoche) embedded within highly fraught attacks on innocents. While she is clearly repelled by these acts of violence, she is driven by her strong moral angst to expose such horrific third-world atrocities via her frontline pictures. There are many other scenes in which Rebecca attempts to reconcile her burning need to capture these images with her role as a mother of two young girls; the eldest Steph (a promising Lauryn Canny) clearly has emotional needs left largely unfulfilled by her frequently globe-trotting mother. In her own words, Rebecca is “not good at life… being normal” and this is increasingly problematic for ;her long-suffering husband, Marcus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who is fed up with raising their girls single-handedly all the while awaiting that phone call. Despite her promises to the contrary, she takes on one more assignment to Kenya with socially conscious Steph, after being given assurances of their safety. Some of these scenes are tense, captivating accounts of genuine drama and the human condition. Others, not so much. While the actors, in particular the wonderful Binoche, are acting their hearts out in all earnestness, there are weak points in the script that compromise the totality of impact. Still, it’s an insightful film into worlds we see only through the lenses of those like Rebecca, and director Poppe (formerly a war photographer), without considering their own conflicts within. A Thousand Times Goodnight is in cinemas now. Rated M.  

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