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The Well-Digger's Daughter (2012)



Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,536

My Rating

Movie Info

Twenty-five years after rising to international acclaim in Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, Daniel Auteuil returns to the world of Marcel Pagnol for his first work as director with this celebrated remake of the 1940s classic. Auteuil stars as the eponymous well-digger Pascale, a widower living with his six daughters in the Provence countryside at the start of World War I. His eldest, Patricia (the luminous Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), has returned home from Paris to help raise her sisters,


Drama, Romance

Daniel Auteuil, Marcel Pagnol

Dec 24, 2012


Kino Lorber Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (40) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (4) | DVD (1)

"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.

October 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Auteuil's direction is a lot like his acting -- well-mannered and likable, yet staid and ultimately inconsequential.

October 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

October 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"The Well-Digger's Daughter" is perhaps a bit too sentimental. But the performances are so heartfelt that its occasional excesses are easily forgiven.

August 17, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's classical moviemaking of a sort rarely seen now, a love story of surprising joy with rounded, flawed but humane characters.

August 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What resonates is a sense of humanity that sometimes gets lost in films with less regard for traditional storytelling, or respect for simple emotion.

August 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Remake lacks the power of context

October 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

The countryside of high Provence is a major character all its own.

August 27, 2012 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Think of it as a pretty good, French-language bucolic entry in PBS' "Masterpiece" franchise and you'll be fine.

August 16, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Strong pedigree pushes 'Well Digger's Daughter' to the top.

July 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

The jewel at the heart of the piece is Berges-Frisbey -- the ravishing mermaid Syrena in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides."

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Despite a verbose script and the kneejerk sexism of Pascal, the visual beauty and narrative simplicity make the film a pleasure.

July 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

I mean, if egocentric, short-sighted, emotionally crippling fathers aren't going to fight for their daughters' hymens WHO WILL!?

July 23, 2012 Full Review Source:

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.
April 19, 2013
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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.
January 29, 2014
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Felipe Rambert: Maybe I don't have honor, but I have love. One can replace the other.
    – Submitted by Chad E (11 months ago)
    1. Pascal Amoretti: I see now that it's wise to be weary of people who sell tools but never use them.
    – Submitted by Chad E (11 months ago)
    1. Pascal Amoretti: She's a princess, see?
    2. Pascal Amoretti: Can you see yourself wed to a princess?
    – Submitted by Chris P (21 months ago)
    1. Pascal Amoretti: She isn't a daughter, she's a treasure from the Good Lord.
    – Submitted by Chris P (21 months ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • La fille du puisatier (DE)
  • The Well Digger's Daughter (La Fille du puisatier) (UK)
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