The Son (Le Fils) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Son (Le Fils) Reviews

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February 26, 2019
I've seen few Dardenne brother's now, so I knew better than expect a fast paced, feel-good story, but "The Son" was nevertheless challenging. It is another good film, but the austerity and simplicity, in these case, was a bit too much for my tastes. We take a bit to understand what is going on, and when we do, nothing much else happens!
May 2, 2018
Sometimes you do things you cannot explain to others, not even to yourself either. There is no reason, only impulse that is driving. The events in the film are pretty simple, but the underlying emotions are very much complex. The battle between conflicting impulses and desires in a man is portrayed very deftly. A lot is said through the sparse dialogues and overbearing silence. It is probably a bit difficult to pinpoint why this film is great, but it is.
½ May 2, 2018
The Dardenne brothers shy away from melodramatic flourishes: there's no music in the film, the performances are understated yet profound, and it's the gestures of the characters that are psychologically revealing--as opposed to the dialogue. "The Son" is a shrewd, highly controlled little film from Belgium that slowly builds to an unexpected emotional climax. Though distant and almost documentary-like in style, and it never stops taking us deeper into their personal lives. In other hands, "The Son" could easily have been just another straightforward revenge thriller.

Olivier (Olivier Gourmet) is a carpenter who teaches carpentry to troubled teens in the juvenile criminal system learning a vocation. Olivier's routine is interrupted by the enrollment of a new student, Francis (Morgan Marinne), who becomes the object of the carpenter's inexplicable obsession. Initially, Olivier does not tell his wife Magali (Isabella Soupart) about the situation, but after careful consideration, Olivier reveals the secret to her--Francis is the teenager who murdered their child years before hand. After serving his sentence in the juvenile prison, Francis seeks to start anew, and eventually even asks the flummoxed Olivier to become his guardian. Olivier withholds his knowledge from Francis, even as a tentative relationship between the two develops. The tense scenario leads to a climactic confrontation, as the past finally catches up with teacher and student.

Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne visual style is claustrophobically disorientating. The camera stays tight on Olivier Gourmet--he is in almost every shot, a handheld camera films him from his shoulders up, subjecting him to a scrutiny we rarely encounter onscreen. The scrutiny pays off, for soon we're able to read into the face of this unsmiling man and an underlying sorrow. This also adds to the sense of suspense and unknowing, while the jerky camera cuts suggest his internal agitation. The film is stripped-bare, and only the essential elements remain.

The true challenge posed by the film is not piecing together the story, nor teasing out its meaning, but embracing its implications in our own lives. Not that "The Son" is a "message" film - it isn't - but it is one of the most profoundly moral and human films I have seen in years. On first viewing, the films rigorous method makes for a comparatively demanding viewing. The Dardennes aren't interested in entertaining the viewer-- but in something far more valuable. The difficulty of the first viewing can become challenging, though, ultimately becomes irrelevant in light of its extraordinary rewards.
May 2, 2018
Another social drama with simplistic and down to earth approach by Dardenne Brothers. Here the close character study protagonist,ill-fated father of a son killed mistakenly is examined thoroughly. The film explores the universal but doomed fatherly love in an unusual way when he employs the juvenile criminal and starts teaching him different crafts, then some questions are certainly arisen from Dardenne's screenplay. Does he find his son or his being in that boy? Does he just want to know the boy better? Does he want to take vengeance even after the boy's trial? Or Is he just trying to get some explanation? Well, throughout the film the directors are answering those questions from time to time as they are going those dark and unexplored corners of person's mind . In the end, we also come to know that he has forgiven the boy charged as guilty. And it is realized that this should be the only option to that whole case.
½ May 2, 2018
An excellent film, but maybe it's not for everyone, especially if you think that movies like M. Night's Unbreakable move 'too slowly'. The Son is more along the lines of a character study. It takes a while to start to really go somewhere, but really gets you hooked once you start to get some information on some major details about the characters' and start forming ideas of where the film is headed. This is one of those films that should be seen without reading anything about it ahead of time. I'd say it's a must-see for anyone who truly loves film.
May 2, 2018
A shop teacher at a reform school takes a particular interest in a student with whom he has a past that caused a significant impact. Masterful storytelling from the Dardenne brothers.
May 2, 2018
Breathtaking. Understated. Perfect. The Dardenne Brothers weave a subtle and sinister tale of a Carpentry Teacher whose unusual obsession with his newest pupil builds into a strange and unnerving relationship. Culminating in a stunning, memorable stand-off in a wood shed, that will have your heart pumping and your nerves jumping. This is intelligent and thought-provokng stuff, Independent Cinema at it's very best.
May 2, 2018
Unique movie that captivates the audiance in a battle of forgiveness without any extra hollywood music and meaningless words. A true one of a kind movie. Beautifully done.
½ May 2, 2018
possibly the most overrated film ever.
½ May 2, 2018
The events are simple. The emotions are hugely complex. Simple yet deep. Not for blockbuster fans but amazing in its own way.
May 2, 2018
Maybe their starkest, grittiest film. Not sure yet what to say about its religiosity (this is something I‚??ve only recently begun thinking about in connection with their work), although the Christ imagery in the vocation school was pretty clear. Olivier was wonderfully played, and, as in Rosetta (another Dardenne movie with a single, central character), the camera has a fascinating relationship with him. Of course it moves when he moves etc, but beyond that there‚??s more going on. Olivier‚??s back is frequently emphasized, also his expressionless face‚?¶ I recall an early scene where Olivier nervously stops in to speak with his manager about Francis‚?? appointment, and the camera almost acts in his place, slinking through the door, quickly panning over to the manager, and then retreating, as if in embaressment. Fantastically developed claustrophobic atmosphere, and, as in all of their other films, a stomach-turning overarching feeling of hard desperation. They have a knack for finding deathliness in objects‚?¶ here it‚??s the stacks of wood‚?¶ in Rosetta and L‚??Enfant it‚??s cold water‚?¶ They also have a talent for coaxing great performances out of young people. Might also think on carpentry as a metaphor and the significance of objects in the movie (mirrors, Olivier‚??s belt, the matching tool boxes). As in Bresson‚??s films (am I contributing to ‚??the problem‚?? bringing up Bresson like every other critic who‚??s commented on the Dardennes?), everything is physicalized‚?¶ movement‚??s are deliberate and there‚??s an acute ‚??in the now‚?? sense of time. Having seen three of their films before, I wasn‚??t surprised when the credits rolled during the post-climax silence between Olivier and Francis. I love that their films always end wordlessly, often with two humans reduced to very basic, very pitiful states‚?¶ just staring at each other and wondering how to rebuild and move on.
May 2, 2018
In their films, the Dardennes are most interested in detailing an encounter with an other, with someone or something outside oneself. The Son accomplishes this through the protagonist Olivier. The film's style keeps us insulated in his narrow and uncertain world. There remains throughout a strange otherness to the boy's character, an otherness that destabilizes what we know (or think we know about Olivier). This brilliantly creates tension and makes the conclusion that much more compelling.
½ May 2, 2018
A true Belgian drama!
May 2, 2018
A masterpiece. The best film yet by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.
½ May 2, 2018
Not for the current MTV generation: a methodically-paced examination of one solitary figure who collides with another. There's an eruption coming, you just don't know when. That's where the film works. What doesn't work?
The handheld camera, with almost exclusive use of close-ups and shoulder shots, with only tilts and pans revealing information instead of cuts or wide shots. Very tedious and grating to watch. This lessened my enjoyment of the film. Nonetheless, I do recommend this small gem that starts off slow, allows the suspense to build, the anger to simmer, and finally culminates with a satisfying payoff.
½ May 2, 2018
It is simply great. I'm probably biased by having a chance to see the Dardennes after the movie.
May 2, 2018
Watched this as a part of a faith and film series. Not a "religious" movie, but a movie that explores issues of forgiveness and redemption.
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