Sunday, April 28, 2013

Y is for You Will Be My Son

France, 2011
Running Time: 102 minutes
Cast: Niels Arestrup, Lorant Deutsch, Patrick Chesnais, Anne Marvin, Nicolas Bridet
Director: Gilles Legrand
Screenplay: Gilles Legrand & Delphine Le Vigan
Cinematography:  Yves Angelo

The complex relationships between fathers and sons have been explored on screen since the dawn of cinema.  Here the family drama plays out amidst the gorgeous backdrop of Bordeaux vineyards.

Paul is the successful vineyard owner, an imposing man whose life is dedicated to producing the perfect wine.  So when Francois, the long-serving estate manager falls ill, Paul needs to find an able successor.

Martin, Paul’s son, steps up, wanting the position and to finally gain his father’s approval and respect.  But Paul refuses to even consider him.  He has no confidence in Martin’s abilities and dislikes him for his perceived failings.  He calls in Francois’ son, Phillippe, a winemaker who has been working in California and offers him the job.  He even offers to adopt him.

And so the stage is set for a battle between fathers and sons, each with their own goals for the vineyard, their lives, and the wine they make.

Niels Arestrup is revelatory as the estate owner.  A character this mean could easily descend into caricature, but Arestrup is too good an actor to fall into that trap.  His Paul is a complex creation whose motivations, even when we disagree with his actions, are clear.

The scenery is glorious and the script so well researched that the daily running of the estate oozes veracity.  And it is this attention to detail that sets this film a step above other films that have explored similar subject matter.

I found myself profoundly moved by this film.  So much that it hung over me for several hours after leaving it.  It’s a film that opens the mind to many questions about loyalty, family and the boundaries between them, especially when a business is involved – a business that provides the family’s livelihood.  


  1. I like the idea that there's a lot of details about the vineyard business in the film. I love learning things from movies and books. :-)

  2. Sounds like a good movie. I haven't heard of it before. Conflict betwee father an son makes me sad sometimes though. :)

  3. This is one to stick on the shelf until the hubby is out of town for a night. Yay!