‘A Kid’ (‘Le Fils de Jean’): Film Review

When instructed at age 33 that the father he never knew has died and he has two adult brothers in Quebec, a Frenchman travels to the “Belle Province” to lastly meet his siblings in A Kid (Le Fils de Jean). The latest movie from one in every of contemporary French cinema’s nice humanists, Philippe Lioret (Welcome, Don’t Worry, I’m Fine), is a finely chiseled household drama that is at once new and acquainted, immersive and deeply poignant. It also showcases the all the time subtle and stirring appearing of the soulful-looking Pierre Deladonchamps, the delicate and hanging lead of Stranger by the Lake, as well as a robust Quebec cast led by dignified veteran Gabriel Arcand (The Dismantling) and hot up-and-comer Pierre-Yves Cardinal (Tom at the Farm).

A modest arthouse hit in France, where its late-summer release date didn’t do it any favors, this has now started rolling out internationally, beginning in Belgium and the Netherlands in September. It ought to enchantment to older Francophile audiences worldwide.

A divorced Parisian with a young son (Timothy Vom Dorp), a successful style novel beneath his belt but not sufficient financial safety to depart his day job as a dog-meals salesman, Mathieu (Deladonchamps) is seemingly content together with his life. His tranquil existence is turned the other way up when he receives word from sexagenarian doctor Pierre (Arcand), a total stranger from faraway Quebec, that Pierre’s finest good friend and Mathieu’s thriller father, has died and left him a bundle.

Mathieu, who grew up with a single mother who died a number of years earlier, is curious enough to take a plane to come back to the funeral of this unknown and in addition choose up the package deal, though his major goal is to fulfill the man’s two grown sons and the brothers he never knew he had: Samuel (Cardinal), a former cross champion-turned-motor salesman, and Benjamin (Patrick Hivon), a company lawyer who now lives in Toronto.

Pierre, however, is against the thought. He insists that Mathieu cannot inform the two thirtysomething men that he’s their brother because they do not know he even exists and they’ve obtained enough on their plate with not solely the upcoming memorial service but the truth that their father’s body, which disappeared from a small boat on a lake the place he went fishing, hasn’t even been discovered yet and officers have suspended the search.

From this comparatively easy setup, Lioret, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nathalie Carter that’s only very loosely based mostly on a novel by Jean-Paul Dubois, spins a narrative about masculinity, household, paternity and filial devotion that is admirably intricate without ever growing convoluted. Indeed, that is the kind of feature that has a surface layer consisting of a very accessible story about one man’s coming to term with the international family he never knew he had but that has extra advanced and infrequently interconnected themes coiling within the layers beneath.

For one, Sam and Ben aren’t the dream siblings that Mathieu might’ve hoped for, as it slowly turns into clear throughout a tense weekend throughout which they dredge by the shallow end of a lake themselves, hoping to find their father’s remains. The picturesque, tourism-advert prepared Quebec panorama sharply contrasts with what the men are looking for underneath the calm mirrored surface of the water and this picture serves as a kind of metaphor for the place the story itself is headed, with Mathieu contrasting his not simple but in addition not all that complicated family life again home and the apparently glad family of Pierre — whose wife (Marie-Therese Fortin) and adult daughter (Catherine de Lean) along with her own twin daughters (Lilou and Milla Moreau-Champagne) have their very own roles to play in this story — with what’s slowly being dredged up when it comes to family historical past by the two brothers, one a macho alcoholic and the opposite a spiritual, cash-obsessed businessman.

There is one major secret that’s revealed in the film’s third act and that almost all audiences may have seen coming since subtle clues are planted along the best way. But regardless of this twist of kinds, A Kid is not a thriller in the conventional sense of the phrase, although Mathieu is understandably curious about the father and family he never knew. Instead, Lioret, like in his previous films, is particularly thinking about intently observing the habits of individuals and then putting that conduct inside a wider familial and social context and, by the natural contrasts that emerge, explore several associated questions. Here his preoccupations include the (potential) roles of fathers and sons, the distinction between men and women (especially when elevating children) and the importance of where you’re from and who you are or would possibly grow to be related to for your sense of self.

Such a delicate approach, a sort of narrative pointillism by which many seemingly abnormal scenes of day-to-day events collectively create something thematically more complicated, can only work if the actors deliver layered work and that’s undoubtedly the case right here. Deladonchamps, whose naive, pleasure-seeking newcomer revealed hidden and even dangerous depths in Stranger by the Lake, has since impressed as a foul stepfather character in Philippe Claudel’s A Childhood, by which he managed to turn someone who was reprehensible into a bad guy who was also, to an extent, understandable.

For Lioret, the placing actor plays his most respectable man yet although Mathieu’s no milquetoast character, getting into a combat in a bar and standing up for what he believes is true although he has to deal with a continually evolving sense of what constitutes his household and his id. Opposite him, veteran Arcand (the younger brother of Oscar-successful director Denys) brings both warmth and a world-weariness to his not very talkative character, who in many ways capabilities as a form of father figure or father substitute because the dying of Jean — the unique title interprets as The Son of Jean,” an almost Biblical-sounding moniker ­— is what sets the story in movement.

Shot by cinematographer Philippe Guilbert in luxuriant, velvety hues that only slightly impinge on the film’s in any other case very lifelike and down-to-earth tone, this Kid is also something of a looker but in a manner that befits its unassuming nature.

Production companies: Fin Aout, Item 7, France 3 Cinema Cast: Pierre Deladonchamps, Gabriel Arcand, Catherine de Lean, Marie-Therese Fortin, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Patrick Hivon, Lilou Moreau-Champagne, Milla Moreau-Champagne, Hortense Monsaingeon, Romane Portail, Timothy Vom Dorp, Martin Laroche Director: Philippe Lioret Screenplay: Philippe Lioret, Nathalie Carter, loosely based mostly on the novel Si ce livre pouvait me rapprocher de toi by Jean-Paul Dubois Producers: Marielle Duigou, Philippe Lioret Director of photography: Philippe Guilbert Production designers: Colombe Raby, Yves Brover Costume designer: Ginette Magny Editor: Andrea Sedlackova Music: Flemming Nordkrog Casting: Nathalie Boutrie Sales: Le Pacte

In French and English

No rating, ninety eight minutes

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