A broken marriage leads to a bitter custody battle with an embattled son at the center in this domestic thriller that will keep audiences guessing and leave them with their hearts in their throats. Miriam and Antoine Besson have divorced, and Miriam (Léa Drucker) is seeking sole custody of their son Julien (Thomas Gioria) to protect him from a father she claims is violent. Antoine (Denis Ménochet) pleads his case as a scorned dad whose children have been turned against him by their vindictive mother. Unsure who is telling the truth, the appointed judge rules in favor of joint custody. A hostage to the escalating conflict between his parents, Julien is pushed to the edge to prevent the worst from happening. Director Xavier Legrand has cited Kramer vs. Kramer, The Shining, and The Night of the Hunter as inspirations for Custody. A companion piece to his Academy Award®-nominated short film Just Before Losing Everything, the film won him the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival.
As embodied by Alan Bates, Butley falls back on the surgically precise wit and savage eloquence that helped put him in his current circumstances in the first place. The blitzkrieg of vitriolic commentary with which Butley engages lovers, students, rivals, and allies, all with equal ferocity, becomes a glass bottom boat illuminating the churning depths of his bankrupted soul. Acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter, in what Time Magazine hailed as “a quite superior directorial debut,” turns author Simon Gray’s single-set, dialogue driven stage play into an irresistible dynamic visual experience that tracks Bates’ hilarious and fearless performance with cunning precision.
Bates and an expert supporting cast, including OscarÃ‚Â® winner Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy), joust with a sly, self-referencing wit and an unselfconscious exuberance that is breathtaking. With every verbal parry and valedictory flourish of wordplay, Butley’s life becomes more of an inescapable bear trap of thwarted ambition, clandestine affection, and squandered brilliance.