Review: Anatomy of a Fall – Trial of a marriage

Directed by Justine Triet
Starring Sandra Hüller, Samuel Theis, Milo Machado-Graner, Jehnny Beth, Swann Arlaud


All the guts of a relationship are put on display in Anatomy of a Fall, a courtroom drama about a marriage devastated by what was either an accident, suicide, or murder. It sounds like real classical thriller filmmaking, but Anatomy of a Fall focuses more on family drama than any kind of thrilling tension.

Young Daniel (Milo Machado-Graner) comes home after a quick walk to find his father, Samuel (Samuel Theis), dead, having fallen from the third story of their house. His mother, Sandra (Sandra Hüller), was the only other person at the house at the time, and given other circumstances and inconsistencies, make her the sole suspect in this trial. She is brought into court to defend herself, alongside her lawyer Vincent (Swann Arlaud), as the matter of Samuel’s fall and the relationship she had with him are thoroughly and brutally dissected by a court.

It’s the courtroom sections of this film, which take up most of the film’s second half, that are the film’s most exquisitely engaging. Filled to the brim with dialogue, these scenes are a bombardment of non-stop accusations and defences as Sandra and her legal team argue for her innocence. First there’s speculation over the fall itself, which is scrutinised on both sides of the defence, then switches to the relationship troubles they had, which is splayed out in even gorier detail.

It really looks awful how much pressure such a highly visible scenario would be like, particularly with how assertively antagonistic the prosecuting team can be. There’s not so much spent on the media speculation of the whole event, given Sandra’s somewhat celebrity status, but most of the film really deals with the inside of the courtroom and the new kind of reality that it spurs.

And yet, once it ends, it’s sure to get the conversations started. Just because the film comes to its own conclusion doesn’t mean audiences won’t come to their own, crafting their own theories around what happened.

Despite few scenes of the couple actually together, this film is quite the portrayal of a marriage. Although many themes of secrets being exposed are addressed, the film doesn’t spend much time contemplating each one, as it ploughs along with a directness and sharpness that makes the courtroom scenes so intimidating just to watch.


Anatomy of a Fall plays at UWA’s Somerville Auditorium from Monday, January 1 to Sunday, January 7, 2024. For more information and to buy tickets head to