Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


You Will Be My Son

You Will Be My Son
Starring:
Niels Arestrup, Lorant Deutsch, Anne Marvin, Nicholas Bridet and Patrick Chesnais


Rated: R for brief sexuality and language. 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 16, 2013 Released by: Cohen Media Group

Gilles Legrand's nuanced French drama engages generational strife even with latter melodramatic flourishes and a sudden conclusion and especially oenophiles as one seems to get more than an introduction into what can be a very lucrative business.

You Will Be My Son (Tu Seras Mon Fils fully subtitled) stars Niels Arestrup and Lorant Deutsch with an opening providing a (perhaps too expository) flashback that makes for a meaty parable and a fairly hard-boiled, adult minded Shakespearean tale.

A Bordeaux chateau and vineyard where Arestrup's Paul de Marseul presides is a stunning, original setting decked out in glossy widescreen lensing, but the proprietor has contempt for a stuttering son Martin (Deutsch) willing to take over the business. In spite of having a very photogenic, lovely spouse Anne (Anne Marivin of Tell No One), a bitter Paul disparages Martin, not only for his virility but his palate, too.

The often winding (definite not Hollywood but could easily be remade and set in lush California wine country) story reflects Paul's affinity for a golden boy winemaker son Philippe (Nicolas Bridet) of cancer-ridden vineyard foreman Francois (Patrick Chesnais). The reasons for Paul's mistreatment of his eager, if laid-back son who excels in the administrative side may be vague for some though it probably has to do with what happened when Martin was very young.

If the last act appears ultimately to be too pat and unconvincing it's not because of the effective elaborate relational conflict established which can be wrenching to say the least. Arestrup (the warm grandfather in Steven Spielberg's War Horse) cuts a striking cold-hearted grouch, a viable linchpin, especially opposite solid counterparts in Deutsch, Bridet, and even an irascible Chesnais, as time is given to Paul's past with his late father. What Paul does even without the consent of characters like Philippe and his dad (even earlier) adds to an emotional and psychological anguish even magnetism from the extreme affection for a beloved beverage oddly perhaps diminishing the intended fuller bodied effect of its outcome.

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