The Well-digger's Daughter Movie 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.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , Jerome Seudoux


Comments

The Well-digger's Daughter Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG, 2011

Editors Recommendations

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

The Cannes Film festival is sneaking up fast. The Oscars felt like they were 8 minutes ago...

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

Next weekend's CounterPoint Festival will be the event's first year at a new 5000-acre site, featuring...

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Superhero movies have been striving towards the almost unobtainable goal set...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Ricky Gervais is "Hooked" on David Brent Again - Former Paper Merchant To Return

A return for David Brent has been mooted ever since the character was wheeled...

Ricky Gervais is

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing "Made In America" To Downtown Los Angeles

Jay Z and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti have announced that the rapper’s...

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing

Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

The editor-in-chief of US VOGUE magazine is reportedly determined for the annual...

Anna Wintour - Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

Jay Z Announces Second Budweiser Made in America Music Festival To Be Held In Los Angeles

Jay Z is one of the music's most successful entrepreneurs and he is now making...

Jay Z Announces Second Budweiser Made in America Music Festival To Be Held In Los Angeles

AC/DC Aren't Retiring After All, It's Just One Band Member

Finally, after three whole days of unchecked speculation online, AC/DC have...

AC/DC Aren't Retiring After All, It's Just One Band Member

Lady Gaga Startling Unedited Versace Ad Snaps Leaked

Lady Gaga has become the latest celebrity to find themselves in the middle...

Lady Gaga Startling Unedited Versace Ad Snaps Leaked


More recommendations