When it comes to exploring the landscape of human morality, perhaps only Asghar Farhadi compares to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who craft yet another story of people confronted with the cost of doing the right thing, and the cost of not doing it. Adèle Haenel plays Dr. Jenny Davin, a Belgian physician who ignores a late ring at her office door one night, then discovers that the young woman—a nameless prostitute—was found dead the next morning. The narrative turns Dr. Davin into kind of a Javert of decency, relentlessly following leads—even into dangerous places—because she can’t stand the idea of this girl remaining anonymous and alone. That’s an unconventional character arc, in that she’s already a fundamentally good person, instantly willing to abandon a chance at a higher-paying gig when she realizes that her mostly poor and immigrant patients need her more. Instead, the Dardennes focus on the impact her amateur investigation has on others, who struggle with their own degrees of responsibility for the girl’s death. You can count on these brothers to tell stories in which a simple expression of human connection can leave you on the verge of tears.
Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
Producer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd and Delphine Tomson
Cast: Adèle Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jérémie Renier, Louka Minnella, Christelle Cornil, Nadège Ouedraogo, Olivier Gourmet, Pierre Sumkay, Yves Larec, Ben Hamidou, Laurent Caron and Fabrizio Rongione