REVIEW: 1,000 Times Good Night Continues Binoche’s Streak

Juliette Binoche in A Thousand Times Good Night

A common complaint among actresses of certain age is the lack of interesting roles. More often than not, 40-and-older thespians are pigeonholed into roles like district attorney, mom of the flavor of the month or weirdly hot grandma (looking at you, Susan Sarandon).

It seems like Juliette Binoche didn’t get the memo.

The perennial French beauty continues to kill it on regular bases. In fact, some of her most interesting roles are fairly recent (Certified Copy, Clouds of Sils Maria, Camille Claudel 1915). I can’t be the only one to believe Godzilla could have been a lot better with her and Bryan Cranston as the leads, as opposed to the bored-looking Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

The ambitious -if flawed- drama 1,000 Times Good Night puts her to good use. Binoche is Rebecca, a skilled war photographer who gets too close to a suicide bombing and ends up wounded. Instead of dealing with post-traumatic stress, Rebecca must account for her actions to her family. Her husband (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones) is considering divorce, not because he doesn’t love her, but the stress of her job is proving too taxing on their daughters.

Rebecca is put through the wringer emotionally. She attempts to be more of a mother, but her calling could be strong for her to resist.

1,000 Times Good Night does a good job showing the dichotomy between family and career beyond the most obvious elements. The shortcomings of both are on display and the protagonist is genuinely torn between the two options. Sure, Rebecca loves her daughters, but considering her job is changing the world for the better (the movie is not subtle about this) and she feels passionately about it, should she just give it up? The film doesn’t offer clear answers as they don’t exist: The scale always favors one side.

The film is handsomely shot in locations as diverse as Ireland, Kenya and Morocco (as Afghanistan) and one could believe Rebecca’s conflict pics are actually real. That said, the portrait of the photo-journalist is off-the-mark (as usual in movies): Deadlines, be damned. Budget? Not an issue. Need a couple of days to decide? Take all the time you need! This has seldom happened in real life, not even when Woodward and Bernstein were active and newspapers made money.

A more realistic approach to Rebecca’s professional life could have done wonders for 1,000 Times Good Night, but the domesticity piece is there. Worth checking out.

Three prairie dogs divided between their family and their career as my minions.

It occurred to me that…

…there is no good reason for Larry Mullen (U2) to do a cameo in this film, yet he is surprisingly adept. Who knew?

1,000 Times Good Night opens tomorrow at Studio 7.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.

3 thoughts on “REVIEW: 1,000 Times Good Night Continues Binoche’s Streak”

  1. I way prefer 40-something Julia Roberts and J.Lo and Binoche not bad either.

    So is everyone on holiday? Ottawa shooting and no posts??

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