You Will Be My Son (2010)

5 Dec

you will be my son

Having spent a sizable chunk of my life living in Southern France and finding it impossible to resist a hearty glass of Bordeaux, Gilles Legrand’s You Will Be My Son was inevitably going to be the kind of film I would enjoy, and enjoy it I did. Niels Arestrup’s portrayal of Paul, the gruff and perfectionistic vineyard owner reluctant to let his own “useless” son take over the family business was impeccable as always and lent a great deal of credibility and drama to the tale. The tortured son Martin (Lorànt Deutsch) is heart-wrenching as he vies with the more talented Philippe (Nicolas Bridet) for his father’s business, affection, and ultimately, approval.

You Will Be My Son is one of those films that really reminds us of how well French cinema works when it is done properly. Everything is there, from the turbulence of father-son relationships and the importance of loyalty within the family, to the heritage and finesse of wine-making in and around Bordeaux. These themes, cloying and repetitive if not carefully crafted, work brilliantly here; the only real criticism I could think of was the sometimes overly simplistic way in which threads not relevant to the central plot line were dealt with, and the angst-ridden effect produced by some of the more emotional scenes when underlain with the particularly heady score.

Still, You Will Be My Son is a very sensitive and very French investigation into the way in which even the most rigidly structured life can so easily tear at the edges and begin to slowly unravel, taking an entire family with it as it goes. The scenery is beautiful, the plot inspiring, the acting well- orchestrated, and anything that provides an excuse for a good glass of red afterwards is a winner in my book. Definitely worth taking a look at.


By Nastassja Sheppard-Larsen


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