An elliptical narrative sees Our Children open upon Dequenne's Murielle in a hysterical state. The more observant of viewers will quickly piece together the source of her distress, yet like all great tragedies it's the road to disaster that evokes the most agonising of reactions. Lafosse flashes back to a happier period in Murielle's life, depicting her blossoming relationship with husband-to-be Mounir (Rahim), a young Moroccan given asylum thanks to his adoptive father, practising doctor André (Arestrup). The pair soon marry and moves into André's house where they start a family together.
However, as technically accomplished as it undoubtedly is, it's the film's ménage à trois of spectacular performances that ultimately elevates Lafosse's unconventional family drama into a far more convincing realm of authenticity. En route to its devastating conclusion, Our Children takes a few narrative diversions to examine issues of national identity in post-colonial North Africa, helping to add yet another layer to this engrossing tale. Yet, there's little denying that it would have been interesting if Lafosse had concealed his film's crushing end-game until the final few frames.
Despite this nagging afterthought, nothing - not even the knowledge of Murielle's final terrible act of frustrated hopelessness - can prepare an audience for such a bold and distressing climax. A brilliantly crafted example of contemporary storytelling, Lafosse's Our Children provides us an unique insight into a chillingly believable tale of scandal and subterfuge without ever succumbing to cheap, manipulative techniques - a fascinating character study that free-falls from the giddy heights of passion and romance to the crushing lows of anxiety and depression.