ANATOMY OF A FALL*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens in a house located in an isolated area in the mountains near Grenoble. German novelist Sandra Voyter (Sandra Hueller) is trying to get through an interview with a young woman named Zoe Solidor (Camille Rutherford). Sandra’s husband Samuel Maleski (Samuel Theis) is playing “P.I.M.P.” at an aggressively loud volume, forcing Sandra and Zoe to postpone the interview.
Meanwhile, Sandra and Samuel’s visually impaired son Daniel (Milo Machado Graner) goes out for a walk with his guide dog Snoop. When he returns, he finds Samuel dead after a fall, while his music is still blasting. Daniel cries and calls for Sandra, who promptly calls for help.
Following Samuel’s autopsy, Sandra contacts her lawyer friend Vincent Renzi (Swann Arlaud). He arrives at the house, where Sandra gives her account of the events leading up to the fall, including how she was asleep with ear plugs in before hearing Daniel yelling. Vincent theorizes that Samuel fell out the window of the attic and hit his head on the roof of the shed before hitting the ground. Vincent also spots a bruise on Sandra’s arm, which she says is a result of her hitting a kitchen countertop, but he notes it will look like it came from a physical struggle with Samuel. He adds that nobody is going to believe that Samuel accidentally fell. Sandra later contacts Vincent to bring up that Samuel had tried to overdose on aspirin six months earlier.
Daniel, still grieving the loss of his father, is brought to speak with Judge Janvier (Pierre-Francois Garel) over what he saw between his parents before going on his walk. He claims he heard an argument despite the loud music. Investigators arrive at the house to try to play Samuel’s music at the same volume to try and see if Sandra could be heard yelling over it. This results in Daniel admitting he got some of his previous information mixed up. Thanks to this, plus evidence of blood spatter and a recording from Samuel of him and Sandra arguing a day before he died, leads to Sandra getting indicted.
Sandra does what she can to support Daniel. The two are introduced to a woman named Marge Berger (Jehnny Beth), who was sent to make sure Sandra and Daniel are doing well, and that nobody influences Daniel’s testimony in the upcoming trial. Later, Sandra recounts her history with Samuel to Vincent, stating that while their relationship started off great, things changed after an accident where Daniel was hit by a motorcycle, which damaged his sight.
One year later, the trial gets underway. The Prosecutor (Antoine Reinartz) first speaks to Zoe over her meeting with Sandra on the day of the incident, trying to gauge if Sandra had tried to seduce Zoe after it is mentioned that Sandra is bisexual and had an affair with another woman prior to Samuel’s death. The prosecution argues that Samuel was blasting his music as resentment over Sandra entertaining an attractive young woman, leading to an argument wherein Sandra would have hit Samuel with a blunt object, resulting in him falling out the attic window, while Sandra’s defense team argues it is improbable.
Samuel’s psychiatrist, Dr. Jammal (Wajdi Mouawad), testifies, which brings up the matter of Samuel’s overdose, and Sandra stating that Samuel had blamed Jammal for getting him on the pills. The subject of Daniel’s accident and Sandra blaming Samuel for it is also reiterated, as Jammal claims that Sandra’s blame caused Samuel to give up on his passion of writing.
The stress of the trial appears to be affecting Sandra and Vincent’s friendship, as he wants to believe she is innocent but wants to be unbiased. Similarly, Sandra has to convince Daniel that she did not harm his father.
During the next day of the trial, the recording of Sandra and Samuel’s argument is played, but it is shown for viewers. Samuel blames Sandra for taking control of his life and exerting her influence over everything, making it seem like it’s her fault that he gave up on his dreams, and even accusing her of plagiarizing for her own books. He also tells her that they have not had any spark in their marriage for a long time. It gets to a point where Sandra blows up on Samuel and says it is not her fault that he is where he now is in his life. The scene cuts back to the court as violent noises are heard, such as glass shattering and the sounds of hitting and Samuel groaning, with the implication being that Sandra struck him. Sandra says that while she threw glass, Samuel was hitting himself to make it look like she was abusing him, then says the bruise on her arm is from Samuel grabbing her.
The Prosecutor brings up one of Sandra’s books where a character discusses thoughts of committing a murder, arguing that, since Sandra had previously claimed her books are taken from real life, this would suggest part of her motive for murder. Sandra in turn argues that the recording of the fight and whatever she wrote in a book are not enough to judge her character. The Judge (Anne Rotger) ends the day by saying Daniel will give his testimony the following Monday. Daniel asks to be left alone in preparation for it, so Sandra leaves with Vincent.
At home, Daniel feeds Snoop a near-lethal dose of aspirin to test an effect before getting Marge to help Snoop vomit and feel better. A tearful Daniel explains that he didn’t know that his father had attempted suicide. He recalls Snoop getting sick because he might have eaten some of Samuel’s vomit that contained the aspirin he ingested. Marge tries to help Daniel calm down and get his facts straight, while Sandra sits in a hotel room watching news reports on her trial.
Daniel later goes to give his testimony. He recalls a memory in which he and Samuel were taking Snoop to the vet, and Samuel discussed the subject of death to Daniel. The boy took it as his father potentially projecting his own suicidal thoughts into the conversation. Daniel concludes that he would not understand if his father met a violent end at Sandra’s hands, but he would believe it if Samuel really did commit suicide.
Sandra is eventually acquitted. She goes out for a celebratory dinner with Vincent, where she admits that she thought she would feel more relieved than she does. Sandra later returns home to Daniel, who admits that he was scared of her returning home, and Sandra says she was too. They hug before they both go to bed, with Sandra taking one last look at a photo of her and Samuel. Snoop then jumps onto the couch with Sandra, and she begins to cuddle with him.
In an isolated mountain home near Grenoble, Samuel Maleski falls to his death from the third story window of his house. His wife, novelist Sandra Voyter, is put on trial for potentially having murdered him, after blood spatter is found on the shed next to where Samuel fell, and a recording he made of him and Sandra arguing is discovered. The trial also weighs on Sandra and Samuel's son, Daniel, who was left visually impaired after an accident as a child, which Sandra resented Samuel for.
The prosecution team tries to argue that Sandra and Samuel argued over Samuel's jealousy since Sandra had earlier had an affair with another woman, and Sandra struck Samuel over the head before he fell to his death. The recording also seems to suggest that Sandra was violent and attacked Samuel, but she states that he had hit himself.
Daniel later gives his own testimony after doing an experiment where he gave his dog Snoop a near-lethal dose of aspirin since the dog experienced a similar reaction after ingesting Samuel's vomit following what was an apparent suicide attempt by overdose.
Sandra is acquitted, though she admits she will need time before finally feeling relieved. She also seems to be rebuilding her relationship with Daniel.