In retirement, it can be very hard “letting go” of all that makes up your identity to date through your life’s work. This was brought home to me when recently I had the opportunity to see the French film “La Verite” which translates to “The Truth” in English.
The legendary and formidable French actress Catherine Deneuve plays Fabienne Dangeville; a perfect depiction. Fabienne is an older woman coming to terms with the fact she is no longer chosen to play the leading lady roles in films because of her age, and, as we see rather heartbreakingly, her faulty memory for her lines.
Fabienne has completed her memoirs, and her film screenwriter daughter Lumir played by Juliette Binoche, returns from Hollywood to help her celebrate and also see what has been revealed. Of course Fabienne’s view of the “truth” and her recollections are quite different from Lumir’s. These two women have had a fractious relationship over many years. Lumir believes that her mother has not always been around to help her in her life of triumphs and disappointments. Faulty memory or perception is not just one way. Lumir herself has an incomplete memory of the past as well. We find this out gradually, and by the end of the film the women are somewhat reconciled; assisted greatly by the presence of Lumir’s engaging daughter who becomes close to her grandmother in a very unaffected way.
Fabienne as an older, successful, beautiful and famous woman is coming to terms with her age (73 in the film). This is a very difficult time for all of us as we get older and we can, sometimes as Fabienne does, lash out at those near and dear to us.
My take from this classy and very non-schmalzy film was twofold:
- The truth is not always as we perceive it.
- It is hard work reconciling yourself to becoming older and letting go.
I’d heartily recommend the film for its’ engaging story and the wonderful acting by all the characters in it. Look for it in your local cinemas soon.