Custody | Chicago Reader


In his powerful short film Just Before Losing Everything (2013), French writer-director Xavier Legrand followed a terrified working mother as she ran away from her abusive husband; this 2017 feature-length follow-up takes place after a judge grants the husband partial custody of the couple’s 11-year-old son. As in Everything, Legrand establishes a sense of nervous tension at the start and ratchets it up until the suspense becomes almost painful. Denis Ménochet is appropriately monstrous as the volatile husband, though he and Legrand also endow the character with a certain self-awareness, which renders him, if not sympathetic, then at least three-dimensional. Disregarding a superfluous subplot about the couple's delinquent 18-year-old daughter and Legrand's overreliance on Steadicam shots, this is taut, engrossing filmmaking on a crucial subject. In French with subtitles.



  • Xavier Legrand


  • Denis Ménochet
  • Léa Drucker
  • Thomas Gioria
  • Mathilde Auneveux
  • Mathieu Saïkaly
  • Florence Janas
  • Saadia Bentaïeb
  • Sophie Pincemaille
  • Émilie Incerti-Formentini
  • Jérome Care-Aulanier
  • Coralie Russier
  • Jenny Bellay


  • Alexandre Gavras

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