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Standing Tall(La Tête haute)

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France · 2015
Rated R · 1h 59m
Director Emmanuelle Bercot
Starring Rod Paradot, Catherine Deneuve, Sara Forestier, Benoît Magimel
Genre Drama

After he is abandoned by his mother, disadvantaged youth Malony is constantly in and out of juvenile court. Florence, a children's magistrate, and Yann, a caseworker, follow the boy's journey and work tirelessly to save the young delinquent from himself and his violent ways.

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What are critics saying?


The Film Stage by

Bercot is able to craft a believable arc within her protagonist, allowing for a gradual character progression rather than one that is abrupt and difficult to reckon with.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Bercot's solidly engaging if fairly routine social-realist drama mainly stands out as an actor's showcase.


Hitfix by Gregory Ellwood

While Bercot's intentions are admirable, she and co-screenwriter Marcia Romano have conjured up too many moments that play out like thousands of courtroom scenes you've seen before.


Screen International by Jonathan Romney

Standing Tall can’t be faulted for energy and for seriousness - and offers a rare case of a troubled-teen drama in which the justice system is seen as entirely benevolent, and a source of succour to troubled souls.


The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer

The powerful turns don’t necessarily build towards a satisfying conclusion, in a film that starts off strong but can’t always decide whether it wants to keep it real or give viewers the sort of movie moments found in less-inventive dramas.


The Playlist by Oliver Lyttelton

Bercot's setting out to make both a character study of a troubled young man wasting his potential, and an examination of a system trying desperately to do right by its charges, despite the immense difficulties and occasional bureaucratic red tape that tie their hands. It's more successful at the latter than at the former.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

It is a high-minded, often touching movie which replaces the nihilism and miserabilism often to be found in social realism, and replaces them with a positive vision of what the state can – and can’t – do to help.

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