A Thousand Times Good Night
Like Kristin Scott-Thomas, Juliette Binoche seems to have seamlessly moved from playing the young romantic lead to more complex portrayals of older women in her career and this film is no exception.
She plays Rebecca, a war photographer who begins the film documenting a female suicide bomber in Afghanistan and nearly loses her life in the ensuing explosion.
Convalescing in hospital, we learn that she is also a wife and mother of two and her life is a constant negotiation between her two great passions, her work and her family. She resolves to concentrate on the latter at the expense of the former but when her teenage daughter becomes interested in third world politics and expresses an interest in seeing Africa for herself, she is tempted by one last trip, a seemingly ‘safe’ assignment documenting a refugee camp for a charity and takes her daughter with her.
When militia men invade the camp, Rebecca’s decisions under pressure force a violent confrontation between the two things she holds dear and upsets the delicate balance she has wrought with devastating results.
It is fantastic to see such complex portrayals of older women on screen and to have a character who is complicated, not always sympathetic but charismatic and engaging. Poppe delivers a film of real emotional resonance, beautifully shot and expertly gripping with Binoche at the centre, delivering a supremely confident performance which is mesmerising.