The Well-Digger's Daughter (2012)
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as Pascal Amoretti
as Patricia Amoretti
as Jacques Mazel
as Felipe Rambert
as Mme Mazel
as M. Mazel
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Critic Reviews for The Well-Digger's Daughter
"The Well-Digger's Daughter" isn't a mind-blower; it's not supposed to be. It's a light lunch with an old friend whom it's good to see again.
Auteuil's direction is a lot like his acting -- well-mannered and likable, yet staid and ultimately inconsequential.
To call "The Well Digger's Daughter" an old-fashioned film is to pay it a compliment. Here is a love story embedded in traditional values.
"The Well-Digger's Daughter" is perhaps a bit too sentimental. But the performances are so heartfelt that its occasional excesses are easily forgiven.
It's classical moviemaking of a sort rarely seen now, a love story of surprising joy with rounded, flawed but humane characters.
Audience Reviews for The Well-Digger's Daughter
After a lower class man's daughter becomes pregnant, he must reconcile the mores of his time with his love for his family.
Daniel Auteuil's directorial debut is a delightful, life-affirming film with an understated complexity. The film encounters class issues deftly, as the main conflict involves two nouveau riche men assuming that they should feel a put-upon shame greater than they feel a real love. Sweeping shots of beautiful countryside and finely crafted scenes (though too talky at times) worthy of the stage abound, and Auteuil proves himself to be a very good director. Auteuil and Astrid Berges-Frisbey deliver compelling performances as father and daughter.
Overall, this is a nice film to see with nice people to spend time with -- a fine end to a tough week.
I really enjoyed the story of a proud man dealing with the shame of a daughter who winds up paying dearly for a single mistake. This was a well done film, with many tender moments as well as some that were hard to take. The pacing was deliberate, but never dragged, the characters were fleshed out and not merely caricatures, and the cinematography was sensuous. There was a lot to like here, although the ending dipped perilously close to smarmy.
I would be the first person to say that Daniel Auteuil has earned a right to direct a film with his long track record of superb performances. But why did he have to choose something as creaky, dated and melodramatic as "The Well-Digger's Daughter," itself a remake of a 1940 movie of the same name? Ostensibly it is about 18-year old Patricia(Astrid Berges-Frisbey) on the eve of World War II but it is not really since even when doing nothing Daniel Auteuil knocks the movie out of orbit just with his regal presence.
Patricia faces limited choices in life between her sexist father Pascal(Auteuil), a well-digger, who complains endlessly about having six daughters and no sons, Pascal's assistant Felipe(Kad Merad) who covets Patricia for marriage despite his being middle-aged and balding and wealthy good-looking Jacques(Nicolas Duvauchelle) who pressures Patricia into having sex at the very least.(And who ever heard of an independently wealthy well-digger's assistant, anyway?) It is actually with Pascal's assent that Felipe is not only interested in Patricia but also a younger daughter. While you could maybe just write this off as a different time, in reality, there is no way this does not come off as plain old creepy which the movie fails to even acknowledge.
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