Film review

Le Fils (The Son)

OPENS MARCH 14, CERT 12A, 103 MINS

Sibling directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's last film, Rosetta, won the Cannes Palme d'Or in 1999 and inspired a new labour law in their native Belgium. A hard act to follow, but the brothers once again transform simple material—in this case, an exploration of forgiveness—into an urgent, compassionate and compelling work.

Olivier Gourmet plays a carpentry instructor at a rehab centre, and Francis (Morgan Marinne), a teenager who killed his son, is about to be placed in Olivier's care. Restricted psychological access allows us ample opportunity to speculate as to what's going on in Olivier's head, while the handheld camera forces us to feel—and think—ourselves into his moral dilemma. With an artfully artless style, the Dardennes' brand of spiritual suspense will either suck you in or leave you cold. Either way, the abrupt climactic grace note is hard-earned and resonates far beyond the film's minimalist confines.

Rating: 4 / 10


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