Review: ‘The Other Son’

The babies-switched-at-birth plot device is applied to the Arab-Israeli conflict in "The Other Son," an adequate if never surprising effort from French helmer Lorraine Levy.

The babies-switched-at-birth plot device is applied to the Arab-Israeli conflict in “The Other Son,” an adequate if never surprising effort from French helmer Lorraine Levy. The film chronicles the initial shock of the two families from both sides of the Wall, as well as everyone’s predictably rocky road to reconciliation with the idea that two fine boys grew up hating what each should love and vice versa. Gallic release, headlined by Emmanuelle Devos, did passable local biz; Cohen Media Group has picked up Stateside rights.

Laid-back Israeli teen musician Joseph (Jules Sitruk) has been raised by his French-born mother (Devos) and army bigwig father (Pascal Elbe). A blood test required for military service and some subsequent research reveal he’s not their child, but was switched during the bombing of a maternity ward with “Palestinian” Yacine (Mehdi Dehbi), who was raised by Arab parents (Areen Omari, Khalifa Natour) but educated in Paris. Except for a dead-end storyline involving Yacine’s quasi-fundamentalist brother (Mahmood Shalabi), sweeping statements or generalizations are absent, and the tone thankfully restrained. Nonetheless, the narrative arc is so predictable only the solid acting keeps auds hooked. Technically, pic’s luminous.

The Other Son

France

Production

A Haut et Court release of a Rapsodie Prod., Cite Films production, in association with France 3 Cinema, Madeleine Films, Solo Films, with the participation of France Televisions, Useful Prod., Sofica Hoche Artois Images. (International sales: Cite Films, Paris.) Produced by Virginie Lacombe, Raphael Berdugo. Directed by Lorraine Levy. Screenplay, Nathalie Saugeon, Levy, Noam Fitoussi, based on an idea by Fitoussi.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Emmanuel Soyer; editor, Sylvia Gadmer; music, Dhafer Youssef; production designers, Miguel Markin, Eytan Levy; costume designers, Rondo Dorron, Valerie Adda. Reviewed at Studio Galande, Paris, June 21, 2012. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbe, Jules Sitruk, Mehdi Dehbi, Areen Omari, Khalifa Natour, Mahmood Shalabi, Diana Zriek, Marie Wisselmann, Bruno Podalydes. (French, English, Hebrew, Arabic dialogue)

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