Glasgow Film Festival Review

First time French filmmaker Xavier Legrand deservedly won the best director award at Venice last year for this lacerating domestic drama about the fallout of a bitter custody battle.

In a court, the lawyers of separated couple Antoine and Miriam are discussing the custody of their 12 year old son Julien. Miriam wants full custody claiming Antoine's is a man prone to intimidation, while a statement by Julien that is read out in court suggests he wants nothing to do with his father. Antoine claims he doesn't understand either point of view. Like us at this point, the judge isn't sure who to believe.
A few days later Antoine has been granted visitation rights but tension between the family members, including older daughter Josephine, remains high.

Opening in quite a deceptively low key fashion in a drab courtroom, Custody slowly builds up the sense that this is unlikely to end amicably.
By the final third, the film becomes almost unbearably tense.

Impressive performances from all four family members ensure emotional investment in the outcome. With Denis Menochet particularly excellent as the hulking father who goes from calling Julien 'sweetie' one minute to petulantly ignoring him or lashing out if slighted. While Thomas Gioria makes an exceptional screen debut as Julien, caught in between his parents.

As gripping as any thriller and as unnerving as any horror, Custody is a must see and a fine calling card for Xavier Legrand.

by Kevin Knapman

Custody screened on 27th & 28th February at The Glasgow Film Festival 2018 and won the GFF Audience Award

Custody (15)

1h 33m

Director: Xavier Legrand
Starring: Denis Menochet, Lea Drucker, Thomas Gioria, Mathilde Aunevex

UK Release: Friday 13th April 2018

Custody - Clip

Custody - Trailer 2