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Article

THE SON

Posted on

The Son

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Philipp Meyer
publisher:
Ecco Press
genre:
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Christian allegory is as evident or as unobtrusive as one wants to make it in this slow, intimate, and ardent drama from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the fraternal Belgian filmmakers who made Rosetta and La Promesse. Olivier, a stolid Belgian carpenter (Olivier Gourmet, quintessential Dardenneian Everyman) who works with troubled teens, develops an obsession with a new apprentice, Francis (Morgan Marinne), for reasons Francis doesn’t know: Years ago, the sullen young man now skulking through the streets of a nondescript city killed Olivier’s son. As in their other rigorous, documentary-oriented dramas, the filmmakers reward audience trust (in a visual style that locates emotion in a close-up behind a character’s ear, say, rather than on his eyes) and honor honest labor as a kind of communion and an opportunity for daily grace. In their hands, the realization is freshly moving.