The Well-digger's Daughter

"Excellent"

The Well-digger's Daughter Review


For his directing debut, actor Auteuil remakes Marcel Pagnol's 1940 classic into a twisty, involving romance. It's thoroughly engaging all the way through, leaving us with a surge of emotion we rarely get at the cinema.

In rural pre-War France, Pascal is a widower (Auteuil) with six daughters. The oldest is 18-year-old Patricia (Berges-Frisbey), who's starting to notice boys.

She's reluctant about a plan to fix her up with Pascal's employee Felipe (Merad), and instead flirts shamelessly with Jacques (Duvauchelle), a dashing pilot who literally sweeps her off her feet. But her secret courtship with Jacques doesn't go as planned. Then war breaks out and both men are called to battle, leaving Patricia pregnant. And Jacques' parents (Azema and Darroussin) don't want to know.

The film is shot with a lovely attention to detail and an unrushed pace that carries us lightly into the story using gentle humour and a vivid sense of the characters. When Patricia is lured to Jacques' private room, we sharply feel her fear about violating the rules of propriety, even as we never think that Jacques is up to anything nasty. When she finally gets up the courage to tell her father what has happened, the scene is heart-wrenching.

The piquant dialog is beautifully written, while the themes of clashing classes and family reputation quietly build in intensity. So much of the story takes place in between the lines that the film holds us tightly in its grip. As things progress, and pride and tradition rear their ugly heads, the story takes turns that are both harsh and gorgeously tender. This allows the Auteuil to develop lovely layers of complexity that move us deeply.

A rich mix of characters and a timeless story make this film hugely entertaining as well, with strong waves of emotion and brittle humour and moments in which we hold our breath wondering which way things might go. This is a film about people trying to navigate a tricky situation with honour and honesty, and the point where fundamentally decent people clash on principles that they have no control over. It also reminds us that sometimes the route to doing the right thing is extremely difficult to navigate.



The Well-digger's Daughter

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 20th April 2011

Box Office USA: $0.4M

Distributed by: Kino Lorber Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 36 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Jerome Seudoux

Starring: Raimu as Pascal Amoretti, le puisatier, Fernandel as Félipe Rambert, l'assistant de Pascal, as Patricia Amoretti, la fille aînée, Fernand Charpin as M. Mazel, Line Noro as Marie Mazel, son épouse, Georges Grey as Jacques Mazel, pilote d'avion, leur fils, Milly Mathis as Nathalie, Claire Oddera as Amanda Amoretti, la fille cadette, Félicien Tramel as Maxime Exbrayat, le garçon de café, Marcel Maupi as le commis

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.