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Antoine Sforza, a thirty-year-old young man, left his village ten years before in order to start a new life in the big city, but now that his father, a traveling grocer, is in hospital after a stroke, he more or less reluctantly accepts to come back to replace him in his daily rounds. Back in the village, accompanied by Claire, a young woman he loves but who hesitates to commit herself, he does the job half-satisfactorily. Too blunt, not in harmony with the locals, he offends them more than he serves them. Fortunately Claire, who has more business acumen, helps him to improve his skills. On the other hand, the relationships are tense with his brother François and even worse with his father, who despises him. So when the latter is back in the village, the situation deteriorates... Written by
Director Eric Guirado spent time observing actual village merchants as research for the film. See more »
When Antoine brings his mother to his apartment at the beginning of the movie, they enter from the staircase via a white door. Few seconds later when he exits the apartment to bring coffee to his mother from his neighbor, he exit to the staircase via the brown door. See more »
deceptively simple story that builds to a moving crescendo
Even from his earliest days, Antoine Sfouza has made it the goal of his life not to have anything to do with the family business. That's why, in his late teens, he left the town where he was born and raised and headed off to the big city in search of fame, fortune and a better life for himself. The problem is that now, at the ripe old age of thirty, Antoine finds himself an embittered ne'er-do-well loser, waiting tables in a sidewalk cafe and living in a dreary one-room flat in Paris, all but estranged from the family that raised him. But after his father is hospitalized with a heart attack, Antoine reluctantly returns to help his mother and brother run the grocery store, which, as a part of its service, operates a van that travels around the local countryside, selling goods in towns and villages too remote to have a fully stocked grocery store of their own. It becomes Antoine's job to drive and man the van, even though his gloomy demeanor and prickly personality don't make him exactly a prime candidate for such an assignment.
Eric Guirado's "The Grocer's Son" might just as easily have been titled "The Grocer's Prodigal Son," since the movie is a fairly transparent update of that well-known story from the Bible. Yet, lucky for us, the screenplay by Guirado and Florence Vignon fleshes out the allegory with fully realized characters and the kind of family dynamics that can only be hinted at in a brief parable. In a carefully understated performance, Nicolas Cazale plays the brooding, almost completely unsmiling Antoine, who eventually comes to learn that a life spent cut off from the people around him is no life at all. The charming Clotilde Hesme co-stars as the free-spirited and independent 26-year-old college student who rooms and boards with the family and who becomes a major catalyst for change in the young man's life.
This is a movie that sneaks up on you slowly and wins you over by degrees - until, in the last half hour or so, it becomes a lyrical, really quite beautiful tale of redemption and compassion, of accepting responsibility and finding one's place in the world. Add to the mix an array of sweet and winning performances by a tremendously gifted cast, a lilting musical score by Christophe Boutin (played mainly on guitar), and generous helpings of lovely French scenery rolling on by, and you have a truly touching and memorable film that will lift your spirits and, for a brief moment at least, make everything seem right with the world.
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