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The Son

The Son (2003)

tomatometer

89

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 2

Austere, finely crafted, and compelling.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 508

My Rating

Movie Info

Olivier, a carpentry instructor at a vocational training center for troubled boys, has his world turned upside down with the arrival of Francis, a mysterious 16-year-old. Unbeknownst to Francis, a past tragedy, involving Olivier's son, connects him to his new teacher. When Olivier's ex-wife, Magali, is told of the boy's existence she is horrified. Olivier becomes obsessed, stalking the boy, furtively, while struggling to maintain a professional distance in his presence. As the secret that Bond's

May 25, 2004

New Yorker Films

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All Critics (62) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (7) | DVD (7)

Fails to provide enough tension to draw us into what, at first, seems a properly chilling crime drama.

April 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you have to pick between movies about the spiritual passion of tortured carpenters, make this the one.

April 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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A substantial story about how one man handles his personal turmoil.

September 25, 2003
Arizona Republic
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[Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's] most gripping film to date.

July 25, 2003
Seattle Times
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A miraculously straightforward drama of deep symbolism and lingering power.

June 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's spring-loaded with tension and driven by agonizing moral choice.

April 25, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a clear-eyed style of filmmaking reminiscent of The Decalogue or The Bicycle Thief, movies that adopt a raw, bare-bones aesthetic to capture the difficult morality of everyday life.

June 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

There's no music, not much dialogue (and what there is is mundane), a deliberately bland video look, and not much happens.

May 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The Son will dazzle you if you patiently think it through and discuss it. The effort you put into it will determine how much it rewards you in the end.

February 1, 2005
Looking Closer

Actions, not words or feelings, are at the center of The Son, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's challenging, nearly religious parable of humanity, fallenness, and grace.

May 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Simple yet deep. Not for blockbuster fans but amazing in its own way.

May 27, 2004

The Son proves that [the Dardennes] can take on the concepts of the human desire for revenge and the capacity for forgiveness without becoming precious or overbearing.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

See if you don't find Olivier Gourmet's performance one of the most compelling and natural of the year.

April 29, 2004 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

The events are simple. The emotions are hugely complex.

April 24, 2004
Jam! Movies

The Son takes forever to get going. And while that is a deliberate move by the filmmakers, Belgium's Dardenne brothers, it's still a problem.

April 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

[The film's] sense of claustrophobia heightens the idea that guides The Son, that past events inextricably tie people, even strangers, together.

April 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

...a work of enormous moral and spiritual depth, where sacrifice, forgiveness and redemption are revealed as the natural extensions of the movie's humdrum landscape.

April 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Weekly Planet (Tampa, FL)

The simple but persuasive social drama at some point grabs your attention and never lets go.

March 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This carpentry is art.

October 3, 2003 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

Although Olivier never faces a gang of outlaws, he becomes a modern Gary Cooper that stares down his inner demons

October 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

As emoções retratadas pelo longa são simples, mas intensas e genuínas.

August 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

The Dardennes' masterful casting and austere style amplify this simple but powerful parable.

July 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Audience Reviews for The Son

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Son", Olivier(Olivier Gourmet) is a carpentry instructor at a work center. At first, he decides against adding a new student to his class but a meeting with his ex-wife(Isabella Soupart) changes his mind. Olivier then becomes intensely curious about his new student...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Son" is a tense drama that is filmed with handheld cameras, so the viewer is looking at Olivier's point of view throughout the film. The Dardenne brothers do a very good job at capturing the complex emotions at play.[/font]
November 8, 2005
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Olivier: You killed my father, you killed my people!
    – Submitted by Pete H (22 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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