What makes the film even more unusual is that the stars (Valérie Donzelli and Jérémie Elkaïm) and co-writers are the real-life couple who lived through this experience; Donzelli also directed the picture. We see the couple when they first meet and fall in love. We witness the man’s less-than-ecstatic reaction to the fact that she is pregnant. And we share their anxiety, and anguish, when they realize that something is not right with their son Adam.
Donzelli’s matter-of-fact, anti-Hollywood approach to her denouement may strike some audiences as underwhelming, yet it reflects a reality we seldom see onscreen. Throughout the film she veers from formulaic presentation, using narration, music and other devices to leap across time, impart information, and move her story along. In its freshness and originality, Declaration of War is bold and unusual. Life doesn’t always lead us to a Big Finale, she seems to be saying; sometimes it simply flows, like a river.