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The Son(Le Fils)

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Belgium, France · 2002
1h 43m
Director Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Starring Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne, Isabella Soupart, Nassim Hassaïni
Genre Mystery, Drama

A joinery instructor at a rehab center refuses to take a new teen as his apprentice, but then begins to follow the boy through the hallways and streets.

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The New York Times by Dana Stevens

To call The Son a masterpiece would be to insult its modesty. Like the homely, useful boxes Olivier teaches his prodigals to build, it is sturdy, durable and, in its downcast, unobtrusive way, miraculous.


L.A. Weekly by Ella Taylor

Makes no attempt to entertain us. Much of this extraordinarily tactful movie, like "Rosetta," is shot in close-up, focusing on the back of Olivier's neck, as if inviting us to see the world as he does.


New York Daily News by Jack Mathews

Sitting through the film is punishing work. The jittery closeups create a response that is more physical (I'm thinking nausea) than emotional, and there are no respites.


Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

To my knowledge there's no one anywhere making films with such a sharp sense of contemporary working-class life -- but for the Dardennes it's only the starting point of a spiritual and profoundly ethical odyssey.


Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

It's a movie imbued with a fierce intimacy -- a tone and style similar to cinema verite documentary -- but it's not a banal realism, even if the characters and settings in contemporary working-class Liege initially seem mundane.


The New Republic by Stanley Kauffmann

The ability to conceive a compact drama on this huge subject and to embody it as perfectly as they have done, added to what they have already accomplished, puts Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne among the premier film artists of our time.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

The real star of The Son isn't lead actor Olivier Gourmet. It's the back of his neck, which the camera obsessively focuses on throughout this difficult but rewarding Belgian drama.

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