‘You Will Be My Son’: Jealousy, hostility flow at family vineyard
A movie review of “You Will Be My Son,” Gilles Legrand’s scorching family drama about a formidable winemaker who regards his meek son as an unworthy keeper of his legacy.
The New York Times
‘You Will Be My Son,’ with Niels Arestrup, Lorànt Deutsch, Patrick Chesnais, Nicolas Bridet. Directed by Gilles Legrand, from a screenplay by Legrand and Delphine de Vigan. 101 minutes. Rated R for brief sexuality and language. In French, with English subtitles. Sundance Cinemas.
The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.
Heaven help the son whose formidable father regards him as an unworthy keeper of his legacy. The object of paternal scorn in Gilles Legrand’s scorching family drama, “You Will Be My Son,” is Martin de Marseul (Lorànt Deutsch), the meek heir apparent to a prestigious Bordeaux vineyard that has been in the family for 11 generations.
Martin’s imperious 65-year-old father, Paul (Niels Arestrup), is a portly leonine winemaker with a glare of disdain that he directs like a laser at his nervous, desperate-to-please only son. Paul is convinced that Martin, although a competent administrator, has no nose for wine.
Hostilities reach a boil when Paul’s longtime business partner François (Patrick Chesnais), the estate’s manager, learns he has pancreatic cancer and is given six months to live. Paul summons François’ son, Philippe (Nicolas Bridet), from the California vineyard he is managing. From the moment the suave, charming Philippe appears, Paul makes it excruciatingly clear to Martin that Philippe is everything Martin is not and treats him like a beloved surrogate son.
If the movie focuses primarily on Paul and Martin’s strife, their embattled relationship is shadowed by tensions between François and Philippe, as Philippe seizes his chance to ascend. François, who was exploited and underappreciated by Paul for decades, watches disapprovingly. The parallel dramas underline the universal theme of primal jealousy, as fathers confront the prospect of their sons superseding them.
Which is thicker, blood or wine? Before that question is answered, the beautifully acted movie makes a questionable turn into thriller territory that upsets its balance.