Review: Saint Omer

Rama (Kayije Kagame) is a novelist who travels from Paris to Saint-Omer to cover the trial of Laurence Coy (Guslagie Malanda) a woman accused of murdering her infant daughter. Rama then realizes they have a stunning amount in common.

This is France's submission for Best International Film at the Oscars and it's an interesting choice. The bulk of the film takes place in one location, and the majority of the dialogue is in the form of court testimony. That's where it's at its most compelling. Malanda and Valérie Dréville set the cadence for these scenes and they're very sell done. I'm glad they chose to unfold Laurence's story this way. It's one of those rare instances where tell works over show.

Unfortunately the scenes outside of the courtroom don't work as well. Kagame is still wonderful in her role, and you can tell she wants to say so much, but obviously cannot. I think at times it's a little too ambiguous for its own good. I don't need a filmmaker to spoon-feed me, but there were a few transitions that threw me off a bit.

Overall, while not perfect this is a very compelling film from Alice Diop and I look forward to seeing what's next from her.

Grade: B-


  1. I do want to see this as I've seen a short by Alice Diop months ago and plan on watching another short before the end of the year and maybe Atlantics before the year ends to finish off the 52 Films by Women pledge as I'm now 6 films away from completing that goal.

    1. I'm also 6 away! I'll have to check out more of Alice Diop's shorts. I was really impressed with what she did here. Atlantics was okay. I didn't love it as much as I wanted but it was still worth the watch.

  2. I really want to see this! Is it streaming somewhere? I'm not familiar w/ Alice Diop but I'm curious to see this one.

    1. Not yet that I'm aware, I received it as a screener.


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