The film hinges on the startling halfway-point suicide of the father of the title, Gregoire Canvel (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), a film producer whose respected but stretched-too-thin company, Moon Films, is teetering on the brink of insolvency, a lab debt and a wildly overbudget Swedish production proving particularly ruinous. (The story of producer Humbert Balsan served as the film’s inspiration.)
After his death, Grégoire’s wife, Sylvia (Chiara Caselli), and their three young daughters—previously regarded affectionately but with visible exhaustion by their father after his marathon days of appointments and phone calls—come into focus.
While the before and after of the suicide form distinct parts, Hansen-Love’s film in no way feels bifurcated or divided, attentive as it is to small-scale shifts in feeling and the way life just moves on. The business of grieving here is also the business of filmmaking: Sylvia, often with her daughters in tow, initially tries to proceed the way Gregoire “would have wanted,” though continuing the mission of his overcollateralized catalogue of international art films comes to seem less and less feasible. This final section of the film, in which Sylvia devotes herself to resolving her husband’s affairs and her daughters make tentative forays back into their former playfulness, is particularly poignant. But there’s hardly a false step in the entire thing.