You Will Be My Son (Tu Seras Mon Fils) (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/12/2012

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Entertaining and emotionally engaging French drama with a strong script and a powerful central performance from Niels Arestrup, though its third act slide into melodrama almost seems like a cop-out compared to the rest of the film.

What's it all about?
Co-written and directed by Gilles Legrand, You Will Be My Son (Tu Seras Mon Fils, original title fans) stars A Prophet's Niels Arestrup as Paul de Marseul, the patriarch of a top Bordeaux chateau and vineyard. Despite the fact that his stuttering son Martin (Lorant Deutsch) is able and willing to take over the business, Paul holds him in contempt and instead sets his sights on Philippe (Nicolas Bridet), the glamorous winemaker son of his ailing estate manager Francois (Patrick Chesnais), who has just returned from the Coppola estate in California.

The Good
Niels Arestrup is terrific as le grande salop (think J.R. Ewing, but with wine) and his despicable treatment of his wimpy-but-eager-to-please son is heartbreaking to watch. Things are further complicated by the fact that Martin is married to the absurdly hot Anne (Anne Marivin) and the pair are constantly at it, which rather undermines Paul's attempts to belittle Martin's virility.

Deutsch is equally good as Martin and there's strong support from both Bridet and Chesnais. In addition, the script is satisfyingly meaty and the film also benefits from the authenticity of its setting; by the end of the film you feel you could probably have a go at running a vineyard yourself, since every aspect of it seems to be covered.

The Bad
The story takes some genuinely unexpected turns and it's shocking to see just how far Paul is prepared to go to eclipse his own son and replace him with Philippe, even to the point of finding out whether he can legally adopt Philippe without Philippe's consent. That said, the film takes a final act slide into melodrama that doesn't quite convince, since it seems like an easy solution compared to the complexity of the rest of the film. On a similar note, the ending, while conclusive, seems a little too abrupt and is vaguely unsatisfying as a result, while the opening (introducing a flashback that becomes the rest of the film) also gives away a little more than strictly necessary.

Worth seeing?
Despite some minor issues with the ending, You Will Be My Son is an engaging and enjoyable French drama that's worth seeing for a terrific central performance from Niels Arestrup. Recommended.

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You Will Be My Son (Tu Seras Mon Fils) (tbc)
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Content updated: 11/12/2017 07:24

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