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Frantz Review

By David Kempler

Frantz Died in France

François Ozon is arguably France's most prolific current director. Over the last 20 years, he has helmed 23 projects, including "8 Femmes", "Potiche", and "Swimming Pool", a personal favorite of mine. Ozon is recognized as one of the most important French directors of the new "New Wave" in French cinema.

Ozon's latest, "Frantz", is a predominantly black-and-white and very loosely based adaptation of the 1932 Ernst Lubitsch drama "Broken Lullaby", which was also an adaptation of a play by French playwright Maurice Rostand.

World War I has recently ended. The setting is Germany, which has just lost and the people there are understandably unhappy with the result and the massive amount of death and injury that has devastated the psyche of the German people.


Anna (Paula Beer) is a young German woman mourning the death of Frantz, her fiancée, in the war. She often visits his nearby grave, but otherwise does little aside from being melancholy. She is staying with Frantz's parents and they want her to find someone else to marry, but she is resistant. She's still in love and in mourning.

One day at the cemetery, she sees a man by her fiancée's grave, but when she gets next to the grave he is no longer there. Eventually, she runs into him again at the gravesite, and he tells her that he was a close friend of Frantz. He is French and his name is Adrien (Pierre Niney), and coincidentally, he looks a bit like the famed actor, Adrien Brody.

Anna brings Adrien home to meet Frantz's parents, but it doesn't go well. Frantz's father believes that every French man is his son's murderer, but Adrien is a charming man and eventually Anna and Frantz's parents come to adore him, especially when Adrien tells them the stories of the friendship Adrien once shared with Frantz. However, Adrien has a secret that would change the way he is being received by Anna and Frantz's parents and the tension here revolves around his secret and whether it will be exposed.

Ozon does his usual good job unfolding the story and squeezing out good performances by all, especially from Paula Beer as Anna. The second half of "Frantz" is better than the first because this is where Ms. Beer shines as she tries to unravel the truth behind Adrien. It's not Ozon's best work, but it's still a delightful tale.

What did you think?

Movie title Frantz
Release year 2016
MPAA Rating PG-13
Our rating
Summary François Ozon's latest isn't his best work, but it's easily good enough for you to invest some cash and time.
View all articles by David Kempler
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