Anatomy of a Fall

Over the decades, legal dramas have been well assayed by myriad filmmakers. The attraction to the genre is understandable. Writers and directors are fascinated by the generally tight rules surrounding evidence gathering and showings of proof, all in the search for truth. Actors find the genre interesting; depending on their roles, they strive to be convincing toward the truth or veering the facts slightly away and more in their favor. Viewers can watch all of this unfold, often being handed seemingly persuasive arguments, only to see them overturn as further evidence is revealed.

Anatomy of a Fall follows this general path, but does slowly in an incredibly methodical 2½ hour runtime. The basic story line is that a husband and wife have an argument after she was being interviewed. He was upstairs playing the same annoying song, repeatedly at increasing volumes. The wife, German bisexual novelist Sandra Voyter (well played by Sandra Hüller), needs to reschedule her interview being conducted by the female student. During the ensuing spousal argument their partially sighted son goes for a walk with the dog and returns to find the father dead from a fall from an upper window. Was he pushed? Did he jump?

The finders of fact need to interview anyone and everyone who may have had some insight into what transpired. The viewer is soon thrust into a recounting of a slow disintegration of a relationship. The pacing is slow but steady, with the murkiness only increasing. I was drawn in by the intricacy of the film’s structure. The characters are believable and the production values are solid.

Anatomy of a Fall was directed by Justine Triet from a screenplay she co-wrote with Arthur Harari. The film premiered at the 76th Cannes Film Festival and it understandably won the Palme d’Or.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.