Actors: Niels Arestrup, Lorànt Deutsch, Patrick Chesnais
Director: Gilles Legrand
Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Cohen Media Group
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Run Time: 102 minutes
I was captivated by You Will Be My Son, from the opening scene to the last. Unfortunately, once I reached that last scene it was with a certain amount of disappointment. The film builds spectacularly upon its characters and the spectacular performances, which make every plot twist and every conversation compelling, though this does not save the ending from feeling somewhat bleak and pointless. As competent as the drama within the film’s narrative may be, it ultimately leads the audience to an almost pointless conclusion which feels somewhat unresolved.
As dramatic as the narrative and convincing as the performances are, the characters in You Will Be My Son are written with Greek tragedy levels of deviance, especially concerning familial relationships. Paul de Marseul (Niels Arestrup) is the proprietor of a prestigious family vineyard, though he treats his educated son as more of a burden than an asset. Martin (Loránt Deutsch) desperately attempts to win his father’s approval, only to find himself disrespected and ridiculed at every turn by one of cinema’s worst ever father figures.
Paul not only dismisses his only son’s attempts at success as inadequate, never allowing him a larger role in the family business, but he also constantly hints at a sexual attraction to Martin’s wife and has no hesitation in bringing another man’s son into the family business in replacement of his own flesh. With Paul’s estate manager on his death bed, Martin hopes to fill that position and instead is replaced by Philippe (Nicolas Bridet).
Manipulative melodrama aside, You Will Be My Son is a solidly constructed film, from the acting to the direction. The characters could have been a bit less one-dimensional at times, though this is what helps fuel the drama in the narrative. The Blu-ray release includes deleted scenes and an interview with star Deutsch and director Gilles Legrand.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 4/10
Special Features: 5/10