Grand Sons

"Very Good"

Grand Sons Review


Grand Sons is the type of film that operates on an extremely small scale to reveal very big ideas about familial love and loyalty. This finely detailed and exquisitely subtle depiction of a difficult yet loving relationship between an aging grandmother and her wounded grandson is humble to a fault yet deeply affecting. Writer/director Ilan Duran Cohen has the master's touch.

Grandmother Regine (Reine Ferrato) is aging not so gracefully in her cluttered Paris apartment. Every couple of weeks, her 24-year-old grandson Guillaume comes in from the seaside where he lives to pay her a visit, but given his behavior, you may wonder why he bothers. Guillaume is sullen, argumentative, insulting, and sometimes extremely distant. And yet he keeps coming. And Grandma puts up with it, shrugging off his outbursts and criticisms and simply offering him more to eat.

It becomes clear when Regine prepares Guillaume a birthday dinner that his mother died two years ago after a difficult life during much of which she surrendered custody of her son to her mother. Guillaume keeps coming back to Grandma's because he has nowhere else to go. She is -- and has always been -- his only family. As for Mom, her ashes are kept in a suitcase on Grandma's balcony. Regine is a world-weary woman and not one prone to sentimentality. As Guillaume quietly weeps over the dinner table, she simply says, "Stop that, don't do that."

The rhythms of their lives are interrupted when Regine hires a young male housekeeper called Maxime (Jean-Philippe Sêt) to stop by a few days a week to help her with cleaning tasks she can no longer manage. Guillaume is suspicious of Maxime and then, more interestingly, jealous of him and he and Regine begin to bond, Maxime points out Guillaume's mean behavior to Regine, but she's utterly forgiving, saying it's to be expected given all he's been through in his life.

Guillaume and Maxime slowly build a friendship (they may or may not both be gay; the film is circumspect on that topic), and Guillaume starts to relax, even as he begins planning to honor his mother's final wish and scatter her ashes in Scotland to honor her final wish.

And that's pretty much that. Grand Sons is a film of small pleasures, many of which are found in the performances of Ferrato and Quatravaux, who are utterly natural and seem to improvise off each other effortlessly. You really feel like you're spying on their most private moments in that claustrophobic apartment. They are two remarkable performances. Watching Guillaume's quiet weepy moments, you want to reach out and give him a hug as a few tears drip down his face. And then you want to hug Grandma, too, and tell her that her generosity toward Guillaume hasn't gone unnoticed. It's an utterly involving chamber piece with enough of an upbeat ending to let you hope that these two difficult people, each very much stuck in their ways, still have enough common ground on which to build a better relationship.

Aka Les Petits Fils.

And grand dame.



Grand Sons

Facts and Figures

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 17th November 2004

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Ilan Duran Cohen

Producer: Ilan Duran Cohen

Starring: Reine Ferrato as Mamie Régine, Guillaume Quatravaux as Guillaume, Jean-Philippe Sêt as Maxime, Brice Cauvin as Serge, Brice Cauvin as Ben, Régis Gambier as Le Plombier, Ilan Duran Cohen as Le père de Ben

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.