How I Killed My Father


Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    The most disturbing and effective thriller I've seen in many moons. Rarely, indeed almost never, is such high-wattage brainpower coupled with pitch-perfect acting and an exquisite, unfakable sense of cinema.
  2. Under Fontaine's direction, family dysfunction is an intense experience with unexpectedly positive repercussions, even if the steps between are painful and potentially deadly.
  3. The script is a steady accretion of small stabs to the heart, propelling the gorgeous performances of Berling, Regnier, and especially the 76-year-old French cinema veteran Bouquet, whose every faint smile is killing.
  4. 90
    The result is an intelligent, moving and invigorating film, just the thing for adults bored with the shock-horror posturing to be found in the work of so many young European directors.
  5. Truly, there can be nothing as complex as the simplest human relationships, and nothing as satisfying as a film that understands that as this one does.
  6. Michel Bouquet's performance makes Anne Fontaine's How I Killed My Father required viewing.
  7. 88
    Not about murder in the literal sense, although that seems a possibility. It is about a man who would like to kill his father, and who may have been killed spiritually by his father.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Polite but emotionally devastating, How I Killed My Father throws such questions out like smart bombs, and they detonate long after the end-credits have rolled.
  9. 80
    Fontaine gives her film the tone of a psychological thriller, with the potential of violence always lurking beneath the surface.
  10. 80
    Fontaine's thoughtful character-driven screenplay is the perfect vehicle for Berling and Bouquet and both are superb. As father and son, they play off each another in fascinating ways as the film moves towards its perfectly modulated, intriguingly ambiguous final moment.
  11. 80
    Fontaine and Jacques Fieschi collaborated on the screenplay, and Jocelyn Pook's chilly string score nicely evokes the menace underlying the film's plush settings.
  12. The pleasure is in watching veteran star Bouquet and the versatile Berling go at it -- they even seem to look alike.
  13. 75
    The title is to be taken figuratively, not literally -- is a top-notch study of family angst.
  14. 75
    What strikes you the most about this well put-together film is how little you're drawn to either character or really understand where either is coming from.
  15. The acting is superb, with emotions roiling beneath rigid exteriors.
  16. 40
    A disappointment after the droll, breezy suggestiveness of Fontaine's equally Freudian "Dry Cleaning," How I Killed My Father is rather less than the sum of its underventilated père-fils confrontations.
  17. 40
    A kind of murder mystery, but eventually the only victim is the audience's interest -- the picture is uncompromising and inauspicious.

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