Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne, Isabella Soupart, Nassim Hassaďni, Kevin Leroy
Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
The brothers Dardenne craft lean, unfancy movies, full of ordinary people, with no special effects--but the emotional impact of their movies (which include the superb La Promesse and Rosetta) is devastating. In The Son,... more »
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Excellent French film worthy of a wider audience
generalenquiries3 | 04/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent but sadly neglected French film.
The cast, Olivier Gourmet, as the Carpentry Teacher and Morgan Marinne, as his student, are routinely excellent.
As is the story and direction, by the Dardenne brothers who have come up with a strikingly original film.
The story, of Olivier, a Carpentry teacher who teaches teenage
offenders picks up when we learn that his latest student is responsible for the murder of Olivier's infant son in a robbery.
The convicted fellon, Francis, now being rehabilated with a trade, is a gentle, quiet boy, but all the same we view him threw Olivier's eyes, detached, ambivalent but with deep suspicion.
Does Olivier intend revenge or is he only seeking answers.
He becomes so close to the boy that Francis asks Olivier innocently, if he'll become his guardian.
The denouement of this movie, where the main two characters travel alone to a deserted timber yard, is wonderfully handled. It will keep you guessing right to the end.
A fantastic film, expertly produced, excellently acted.
The film is subtle but also absorbing. A real must see!"
The Good "Son"
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 06/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I warn you, please do not read any of the reviews about this movie until you have seen it. I will not describe the plot to you because I feel it is best to walk in cold. The movie is complex with emotions and a major plot twist that is better left unsaid.
The movie was directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and brother Luc Dardenne. It was nominated at the Cannes Film Festival for the top prize, the Golden Palm, and was awarded "Best Actor" to Olivier Gourmet who plays Olivier in the film. Also, Morgan Marinne, who plays the young boy, was nominated for a Cesar Award (the equivalent of the Oscar in France) for "Most Promising Actor".
"The Son" tackles some pretty big topics but handles them in a sincere way. We come to believe in these characters, especially Olivier, even though we are not quite sure where this film is headed. Olivier has two sides to him, on one hand he seems like a nice guy and on the other seems malicious. The big subject here is forgiveness. How far would we go to understand those who have caused you harm? But, I've said too much. I realize this is a very vague review, but after you've seen the movie you will thank me.
Here is a movie I recommend to all those who are interested in foreign films and are sick of the big budget brain dead Hollywood films being released this time of year.
I want to say one thing about the film's ending. After watching it some may feel it ends too abruptly. It does not. The movie ends at just the right moment. There is nothing else that could have been added. We know all we need to know about where these people are headed. Please do not complain about the conclusion.
Bottom-line: Subtle, powerful film that seems to sneak up on you. We are never quite sure where the film is going to take us but it manages to deal with its material in a convincing way."
An Intersection of Loathe and Love
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE SON is a quiet film that ends up shouting its agony through silence. Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne have filmed what at first appears to be just an ordinary working class man's life (Olivier, a carpenter with apprentices, played with subtle perfection by Olivier Gourmet), following it closely, slyly introducing Olivier's ex-wife (Isabella Soupart) with whom he no longer has contact save for a tragedy they share, and then darkens the picture with the presence of a 16 year old apprentice Francis (Morgan Marinne) who we instantly know has some mystery behind him. Olivier watches the boy's every move, discovers that the boy has just been released form prison where he was incarcerated since age 11 for theft and murder. Olivier realizes this is the boy responsible for his son's death five years ago and he takes Francis under his wing, his motivation remains unsure until the film's surprising end. This is verismo at its peak - just an emotionally charged story, simple, without accoutrements. There is no music soundtrack, only silence and very very little dialogue. But because of this starkness, the significance of the movie is all the more powerful. Perhaps this film is not for everyone: patience and a parcel of time are required to savour it. But THE SON is one of those films that stays in you gut long after the viewing."
Forgiveness or Revenge? One man's Emotional Turmoil
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 04/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A film from Beigium directed by brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne ("Rosetta"). Like Rosetta, "The Son (Le Fils)" explores the emotional turmoil of the protagonist, and watching the process would be torment to some people. Still, great acting of Oliver Gourmet is so impressive that those fans who respect the realistic approach to human behavior will be satisfied with the end result.Olivier (Olivier Gourmet) is working at a carpentry school, but when a new student Francis is sent to the class, he starts to act a little strangely. He is clearly interested in Francis, but he is also afraid of having it known by the others. But he still keeps on peeping at him from behind the wall, not knowing what to do with himself. But why?The reason is revealed after 30 minutes (and if you don't want to know it, skip this paragraph). The fact is, Olivier knew Francis killed his son. Still. Olivier takes Francis as a new student, teaching the craft of carpenrty works. Laconic Francis (not knowing the identity of Olivier) begins to feel attached to the teacher, but ... what is Olivier really thinking about? Revenger? Forgiveness? Or he does not know his true mind either?"The Son" goes on like this, without superfluous dialogues, shot with a hand-held camera. Each take goes on very long, sometimes several minutes without cut, and often the image is shot behind the head of Olivier, as if letting us share his viewpoint. Evidently the directors did thorough rehearsals before shooting, because each shot is realized with the calculated movement of camera. But the real virtue of the film lies in Olivier Gourmet (seen also in "Read My Lips" and others), who gives a terrific acting full of nuance and emotion. The troubled mind of Olivier comes so natural onto the screen that you almost forgive the film's too arty attitudes (no soundtrack, for instance, like Dogme films). Frankly, I think that "The Son" is a kind of film that appeals more critics than to general audiences. But Olivier Gourmet's performance is a genuine one.Director Luc Dardenne says that the film is partly inspired by the real-life murder case in Liverpool in 1993. Probably English people remember the case I refer to. As his comment shows, the film deals with an immediate topic in a unique way, and like reality itself, "The Son" is often ambiguous, which becomes the strength of it. Not my cup of tea, I admit, but still well worth watching."