The Son

Release Date: January 10, 2003
Limited release

He's no whack-a-mole savant.

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The writing/directing team of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne make their return to the silver screen. This film is not only a story of tragedy and obsession, but also an extended religious allegory.

Olivier Gourmet portrays a carpentry instructor at a rehab center for teenagers. He is asked to take on an additional student, but has no more space. However, for reasons unknown, he changes his mind and takes on the young pupil named Francis (Morgan Marinne). Olivier (both the character’s and actor’s name) takes an intense interest in his new apprentice and the moviegoer is puzzled as to his intentions.

We soon learn that Francis, just released from prison, was responsible for the death of Olivier’s son during an attempted robbery from Olivier’s car. Francis doesn’t know this and just goes about his business. The film climaxes with the carpenter revealing their tragic connection. But will Olivier forgive him or take his revenge with one of the many tools at his disposal?

The movie doesn’t dwell on the religious connections, but they are there nonetheless. Among the similarities are Olivier’s occupation as a carpenter (Jesus), his ex-wife named Magali (Mary Magdalene), and the many large wooden panels he must carry (Jesus carrying the cross). This is just something to keep in the back of your mind as you watch the movie.

This film had its world premiere at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival where it garnered critical acclaim as well as an award. It has also been chosen as the Best Foreign Language Film entry for Belgium at this year’s Academy Awards. (Marty Doskins/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Son
Main Cast Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne
Supporting Cast Isabella Soupart, Jimmy Deloof
Director Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Screenwriter Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Distributor New Yorker Films
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating Unrated
Running Time 103 minutes
Screen Count 1
  • 2002 Cannes Film Festival - Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (Special Mention), Best Actor (Olivier Gourmet)

Awards page for The Son
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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