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The Girl With a Bracelet
Directed by Stephane Demoustier
HOW well do you really know your own children? That is one of a number of fundamental questions addressed in this totally engrossing murder-mystery courtroom drama with a Gallic twist
Uniquely, it centres on 18-year-old Lise (Melissa Guers) who is on trial for the brutal killing of her best friend two years earlier at the age of 16.
The film is told from the point of view of her loving parents, played superbly by Chiara Mastroianni and Roschdy Zem, as they deal with a moody, monosyllabic teenager and the horror of discovering in court all about their daughter's sexual antics, including appearing in a porn video shot by her dead BFF.
Inspired by a true story and the script of Acusada by Ulises Porra and Gonzalo Toba, writer-director Stephane Demoustier's crime drama explores doubt and belief as well as the differences and misunderstandings between generations.
Guers, in a standout debut performance, perfectly captures the nonchalance and arrogance of youth. Lise comes across as cold, unfeeling and calculating as she is observed and judged by everyone, but is comfortable in her own skin and with her own words and actions.
Being a young woman, in court her sexual history and thus her character is called into question, although her lawyer (Annie Mercier) rightly points out that her sex life isn't on trial, that teenagers have sex is a well-known fact and the evidence is circumstantial.
While Lise, wearing an ankle monitor, is awaiting her fate at home her younger brother asks if he can have her room if she's jailed — funny and sad but so true.
This is a beautifully crafted murder mystery with surprising depth and a nuanced coming-of-age tale which makes no judgements and leaves you intrigued and guessing till the end.
Available on Curzon Home Cinema from June 26.
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