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In pre-World War II France, a father is torn between his sense of honor and his deep love for his saintly daughter when she gets in trouble with the wealthy son of a shopkeeper.
Release Year: 2011
Rating: 6.6/10 (463 voted)
Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Nicolas Duvauchelle
Storyline In pre-World War II France, a father is torn between his sense of honor and his deep love for his saintly daughter when she gets in trouble with the wealthy son of a shopkeeper.
Writers: Marcel Pagnol, Daniel Auteuil
Cast: Daniel Auteuil
Release Date: 20 April 2011
Filming Locations: Brignoles, Var, France
(11 December 2011)
Timeless moving story served by great actors and a good direction
The Well-Digger's Daughter is a french movie, remake of another famous
french film of the 40's.
If you don't know anything about french cinema, know that this remake
features well known comedians such as Daniel Auteuil (it's also his
first work as a director), Kad Merad, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Jean-Pierre
Darroussin, Sabine Azema, and Marie-Anne Chazel.
The original film was directed, written and produced by Marcel Pagnol,
famous not only for his films but also for plays and novels that have
The story? (spoiler-free, as always) It's the beginning of the WWII.
South of France. Patricia, 18, is the oldest daughter of a well-digger,
Pascal, who considers her a princess because of her moral qualities.
She's kind, devoted. One day, she briefly meets a young man, Jacques,
the son of Mazel, owner of the shop where her father buy his material.
He's handsome and teasing. Her father's friend, Felipe, would love to
marry her, and he invites her to an aviation show. She accepts his
invitation only because she knows Jacques is a pilot and will be there.
Soon, she'll carry his child, and he'll be gone, and the family will
have to deal with this out-of-wedlock pregnancy...
The remake definitely honors the classic, and I can't find one single
thing to criticize. The actors all deliver moving and natural
compositions, from the loving and torn father (Auteuil) to the moody
Mrs Mazel (Azema), from the benevolent Felipe (Merad) to the seductive
Jacques (Duvauchelle). By the way, it certainly isn't hard to see why
the heroine falls for him after just one encounter ;) The main
character, Patricia, is played with tact and sweetness by Astrid
Bergès-Frisbey, who somehow reminds me of Jane March. She was unknown
before this role (even if it's not her first), but no doubt this is the
year of her breakthrough, as she will soon be seen interpreting a
mermaid in the next Pirates of the Caribbean.
The direction is precise, careful, and manages to capture each small
emotion of the characters. It really serves well the beautiful and
moving plot. You're completely immersed into the story and can have
your eyes wet more than once, even though the movie isn't a melodrama
nor a tragedy. This story is timeless, and universal. I would recommend
it to absolutely everyone. It's a 5-star film!