In a covert and calm manner, Farewell to the Night might force audiences to examine their own prejudices. When watching this French tale of a woman confronted by her grandson’s unanticipated conversion to Islam and consequential radicalisation, some viewers might nod knowingly, thinking that, yes, this is exactly what is happening and is subsequently ripping apart the fabric of our nation – whatever that nation might in fact be. Others might think that such a story just reinforces negative preconceptions of Islam, before angrily tweeting about it and then heading off to a vegan poetry slam. Both mindsets are too simplistic an interpretation of director André Téchiné’s intricate and exceptional film.
Farewell to the Night is exceptionally well-told, and it takes a tremendous amount of skill to make it seem this effortless.
Deneuve is flawless, giving a performance that is the definition of controlled, especially when she eventually and inevitably learns the scope of her grandson’s plans and has to make some painful choices.
Oliver Johnston, The Upcoming