Film: Anatomy of a Fall



There are a lot of courtroom sagas on film and TV, but Anatomy Of A Fall,  set in a remote area in the French Alps, is an enthralling and complex character study in a slow-burning mystery.

It is a drama in which the secrets and grievances of a married couple are revealed.

Daniel (astonishingly good newcomer, Milo Machado Graner) is an 11 year old boy with impaired vision. He comes home from an early morning walk with his guide dog Snoop to find his father Samuel (Samuel Maleski) lying in the snow, with a wound to his head. He has seemingly died from a fall from the upstairs window of their chalet.



The police are called and search for a motive, and an inconclusive autopsy results in the trial of his wife Sandra (played by Sandra Huller who gives an extraordinary performance).

It is shown that Samuel’s head wound occurred before he hit the ground. An audio tape he made of a fight which turns physically violent the day before he died is used in evidence. On the tape, he accuses her of plagiarism, infidelity and trying to control his life.

The prosecution lawyer (Antoine Reinartz) suggests Sandra hit Samuel with a blunt instrument and pushed him out of the third floor attic window. Her lawyer (Swann Arlaud) suggests he fell from the window and hit his head on a shed on the way down.

Daniel is called as a key witness, and gives conflicting accounts of where he was when h on the morning of Samuel’s death.

During the long trial many things are revealed. Sandra and Samuel are both writers who have worked together but have recently had arguments. Samuel had been renovating the attic and playing loud music when Sandra, more successful in her career, was trying to work.

There is a suggestion that Samuel might have tried to suicide in the past. She prefers to speak in English and has been resentful of having moved from Germany to France at his request.



In order to convict the accused, the French court must be convinced of the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Did Samuel fall or was he pushed?

On set, Huller asked the director-writer Justine Triet (who co-wrote the script with  husband Arthur Harari) whether her character was guilty and she refused to answer.

The film has won many awards.

152 minutes.

Spoken in English, French and German with English subtitles.

The film aired recently at Somerville and will be coming soon to Luna Cinemas.


Watch the trailer…