“You Will Be My Son” Movie Review by Valentin Ewan
Coming out of France is the great film “You Will Be My Son” (Tu Seras Mon Fils), directed by Gilles Legrand. Originally released in France in 2011 this film is finally seeing wide release in America in 2013. The piece is a nicely done film in all aspects and is well worth seeing.
“You Will Be My Son” tells the tale of the many family struggles that develop at an esteemed French vineyard. The vineyard is owned by the patriarch Paul de Marseul (Niels Arestrup), a well respected and charming public figure who in reality is a stern and dominating taskmaster of his vineyard. Paul’s son Martin (Lorànt Deutsch)helps in the family business but aspires to do more for the vineyard in hopes of winning his father’s respect. At first this seems like an oft treaded plot but it is complicated by the failing health of Paul’s steward, François Amelot (Patrick Chesnais), whose agricultural expertise has helped to make Paul’s wine great and famous. As François succumbs to illness Paul begins to court François’ prodigal son, Phillipe (Nicholas Bridet), to take his father’s place. As the movie develops it becomes apparent that Paul may have grander designs for Phillipe than anyone expects and this begins to exacerbate issues that the characters and their families have struggled with for years and generations.
The film is beautifully shot with amazing cinematography. The scale of the film is humble but most of the movie takes place in beautiful French wine country and this greatly helps to compliment the visual style of the film. Wine flows endlessly throughout the film and discussion of it blends seamlessly in with the story, wine fans should find these parts of the film to be nice compliments to the rest of the film.
“You Will Be My Son” is rated R for sex, some violence and relentless wine pornography. There are countless scenes of wine spitting and swallowing, wine fanatics will be quiet pleased.
The cast of “You Will Be My Son” is superb and the greatest strength of the many within the film. The film is at its heart a character drama and the vistas and cinematography of the movie, although beautiful, are ultimately window dressing for the interactions between the interesting characters and their powerful tribulations. Each cast member in their own right gives fantastic performances but Niels Arestrup in his performance stands above even his talented peers with his portrayal of Paul. Arestrup and his director do a great job of creating a dark but intricate and compelling mosaic of a man. Patrick Chesnais’ portrayal of François is another highlight of the film and he carries great weight in his performance despite not being a main character.
The film is not only a great drama piece but a great suspense piece as well and the way it is structured and paced helps to drastically increase the tension between characters and the audience. The film starts with a pivotal death and then back in time to the time before the death and it is from there that the film progresses. With this early death the film immediately casts some mystery and suspense on the characters, their nature and the nature of the film itself as events move forward in the film. The possibility or murder dances in the mind of the viewer and apprehension and curiosity builds throughout until the very end of the film. “You Will Be My Son” is an entertaining and powerful film, it tackles interesting and emotional issues beyond powerful ideas of film. Like the many wines it depicts “You Will Be My Son” is a strong and delectable film, well worth a taste.