Arnaud Desplechin pauses between his sprawling and magnificent “Kings and Queen” and his upcoming Cannes premiere, “A Christmas Story,” to turn his adventurous lens on his own family in “Beloved.” Lovely, extremely heartfelt film helps redefine the term “homemovie” as the director examines the sad, multilayered life of his grandmother Therese, who died of tuberculosis at 36. Desplechin once again demonstrates his capacity for turning anything into a cinematic moment, and accomplishes what many viewers might wish they had done with their own relatives. Tube buyers will lead the request line for this gentle, human document.
On the eve of the sale of the Desplechin family home in the French burg of Roubaix, the helmer sits down with father Robert to piece together Therese’s tale through photos, letters and a few paintings. A caring physician who picked up TB through her practice, Therese died when Robert was 2. “Your past is exploding in your face,” Robert accurately tells Arnaud, who augments his recovery of family history by inserting snippets of Bernard Herrmann’s score for “Vertigo.”