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When documentary meets fiction
guy-bellinger8 September 2007
Despite its very simple plot (the story of a son taking over the daily round of his sick grocer father), 'Le fils de l'épicier' qualifies as an enriching film experience.

Helmer Eric Guirado never relies on twist plots, car chases or visual effects… and yet the viewer is captivated and leaves the theater fulfilled and happy. This is no small feat, so how does the co-writer/director Guirado accomplish this object? It's easy for me to analyze how he went about it (although I guess it must have been very difficult for him to make such a thin story interesting).

What actually makes this film particularly effective is its fine blend of documentary and fiction. A real ethnographer, the director captures real life to perfection. The grocer's son's customers are real people, what they say is what everyday fellows do in everyday life. Moreover most of the people playing villagers and customers are not professional actors but true people re-enacting what they do day after day. Simple, old chaps, rarely honored by the big screen. All rings true in 'Le Fils de l'Epicier' and this all the less surprising as Eric Guirado followed three different grocers in their daily rounds for months and months before filming. He DOES know his subject and you get an impression of truth throughout.

However, supposing 'Le fils de l'épicier' had been a hardcore documentary, it might not be as exciting as it is. For what little fiction is added to the documentary aspect lives up to it and finally makes the story and the characters catch on even better.

For instance Guirado examines with impressive relevance the tense relationships in the family. He also explores convincingly the serious theme of finding one's place in life and in society. Just like the customers mentioned before, the characters are true to life and Eric Guirado, never condemning any of his characters, tries to make us understand all of them, including the most unpleasant ones. A humanistic approach Jean Renoir would have approved of. Add to this a knack for comedy. Whenever it is possible Guirado eases the tension thanks to well-timed and staged funny sequences, like the painting of the van, the crazy appearances of Lucienne, etc.) There are good professional actors too ( handsome brooding Nicolas Cazalé; refreshingly unaffected Clotilde Hesme; Jeanne Goupil, Joel Seria's former sexy muse turned plump-fifty-year-old-mother-with-a-heart-of-gold ; always unsettling Daniel Duval as the unforgiving father).

To put it in a nutshell, in 'Le Fils de l'Epicier' the documentary side enhances the fiction and vice versa. Go and see it. You won't be disappointed.
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deceptively simple story that builds to a moving crescendo
Roland E. Zwick12 January 2009
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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Great Characters
Neil Turner17 December 2008
Talk about your dysfunctional families! The grocer's family gets the five-star award. Antoine is the subject of the film. He left home as a youth and has been pretty much disowned by his father who wanted him to stay in their small village and help him run his grocery. Antoine has not fared well as an adult. He has no work ethic whatsoever and bounces about from one dead end job to the next.

It appears his only accomplishment as an adult is to have made a very good friend of a young woman named Claire. She entered a bad marriage early in life, got divorced, and is now working to be accepted to an academy in Spain. Now she has a work ethic as she labors all day and studies late into the night in her quest for higher education.

The father is hospitalized, and Antoine begrudgingly visits after an estrangement of almost ten years. Antoine's brother, François is there and appears to have the same animosity for his brother as expressed by the father. François owns a hair salon and appears to be the picture of the successful family man.

Antoine wants nothing to do with his family, but his mother begs him to come and run the family business while his father is ill. Antoine strikes a bargain with his mother that includes the opportunity for Claire to quit her job and allow her to devote full time to her studies, so she and Antoine move in above the store with his mother. The first surprise that comes to his mother is that Antoine and Claire do not share a room and that their relationship is platonic. Antoine's mother views this as an interesting insight into her son who, apparently, has always been incredibly self-centered.

While the mother tends the store, it is Antoine's job to drive a large van equipped as a mini store to the neighboring villages. Most of the customers are elderly and have had long standing arrangements with the father as to payment, etc. Antoine proceeds to alienate just about everyone on the route with his rudeness and unwillingness to comply with the customs established by his father. Claire saves the day when she starts traveling the route with Antoine as she is friendly and compassionate. He learns from Claire and soon becomes more flexible and affable.

Events occur, precipitated by Antoine's selfishness, that cause Claire to return to the city, and Antoine is left there with his mother to carry on as agreed. When Antoine's father returns from the hospital, he is still not able to go back to work. Once the father arrives, we get more insight as to why Antoine is so damaged.

This film has superior acting, interesting characters, and beautiful scenery, but it often comes off as somewhat disjointed. I'm not sure if this is due to a weakness in script or editing, but there are, at times, actions that take place that make little sense considering the storyline. None-the-less, it is a good story with charming, insightful characters that creates a positive viewing experience.
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Traveling grocery sales bring a family back together
Chris Knipp13 February 2008
Eric Guirado has made documentaries about the French countryside and specifically traveling tradesmen in central and southern France. Directly from that background comes this touching little fiction feature about a family that has a grocery business with a van that travels into the hills and provides daily necessities to aging country people. One of the sons, Francois (Stephan Gillian Tillié of Just a Question of Love) is a hairdresser in town. The other, Antoine (Nicolas Cazalé of Le Clan), left home years ago to live in Paris, but he returns to help out when his father (Daniel Duval) is downed by a heart attack. He stays with his mom (Jeanne Goupil). And very importantly, he brings with him a lively young woman, Claire (Clotilde Hesme, of Regular Lovers). They aren't really involved, but he is bailing her out. She is penniless, the refugee of an early failed marriage. He borrows money from his mom to make this trip, bail Claire out of her debts, and give her a peaceful place to finish her "bac" and apply to college in Spain. His own life in Paris has never jelled. He can't seem to hold a job for three months running.

Antoine pretends that he and Claire are married. And Francois, who lives elsewhere but comes by for meals, is pretending all is fine with his wife, who has left him some time ago. This isn't a family that communicates well, and Antoine left them because things weren't right; but neither was his own behavior as a youth--as we find out from Lucienne (Liliane Riviere), a feisty old lady on the van's grocery route who does not remember him with favor. Antoine also becomes more involved with Old Man Clement (Paul Clauchet), whose hen's eggs are practically all he has to offer any more. Guirado is remarkably skillful at making the constant trips in the grocery van different and reflective of changes in Antoine. Grounded in documentary technique, the film has a wealth of specific detail and never seems forced. And on top of that those in the main roles are actors with presence, anchored in center stage by the hunky, soulful Cazale and the vibrant, very French Clotilde Hesme. There is star quality here yet Cazalé, Tillié, and Duval, though you might not have known to pick them from a crowd, look very much like blood relations. That's good casting.

This is a very slight story, with some elements of too-sweet resolution, and it hardly seems likely to have much of a future as a US release. What makes it work are two things: the wealth of authentic country people who make up the secondary characters, the "customers" Antoine takes groceries to; and the fact that there are emotions here, that you care about Antoine and Francois and their dangling lives, the disgruntlement of their dad, Antoine's discovered affection for Claire, and his gradual acceptance, for the lack of anything better but because he has a basically good heart, of the idea that he might find a life in the rural world he fled from.

The Grocer's Son/Le fils de l'épicier is part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, February 29-March 9, 2008. No US distributor at that time. Later limited US theatrical release starting in June 2008.
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Dix Points!
Stravaiger19 February 2009
I have just been to see this film at the Glasgow Film Theatre. I had been unaware of the director's reputation as a documentary maker and I have to agree with all the earlier commentators' opinions on the filmmaker's superb feel for scenery. One could almost sense the warmth and the scents of Provence. The actors, both principal and co-opted paysannes (French country people), were natural in their roles: I have overheard the same banter between customers and stall-holders in markets throughout rural France. This film is a treat to watch and I have no hesitation in awarding it "dix points"! My only minor reservation concerns the English sub-titles: some of the wonderful French dialogue looked as if it had been translated by an adolescent. All the same, a great film.
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Alimentation Generale: Epicier Volante
gradyharp31 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Le Fils de l'épicier (The Grocer's Son) is one of the loveliest films of the year. Written (with Florence Vignon) and directed by Eric Guirado, this little taste of French life is as refreshing as the fruits and vegetables on the traveling grocery van that is a focal point of the story. Though at first glance it appears to be a simple tale of a son begrudgingly taking over his invalid father's business, Guirado has embroidered this story with so many warm details that the film begs to be seen again and again to make sure nothing has been missed.

Antoine Sforza (the gifted and handsome young actor Nicolas Cazalé) is a thirty something young waiter, unable to find satisfaction in his various jobs he opted for when he left his home ten years ago: his relationship with his father was strained and Antoine did not care to 'waste' his life in a village as an grocer (epicier). He has a 'girlfriend' Claire (Clotilde Hesme) who is trying to save money to go to Spain to study, and when his father (Daniel Duval) is hospitalized with a heart attack, he begrudgingly agrees to return home - with the proviso that his mother lend him money that he in turn gives to Claire so that she can complete her dream of studying in Spain. Antoine's brother François (Stéphan Guérin-Tillié) owns a beauty salon and, despite the family's concept that he is the stable one, has troubles of his own. Antoine's mother (Jeanne Goupil) is desperate for help: she has managed to run the little store in the village, but a major source of income has come from the van the father drives through the countryside, selling groceries to the old folks. Antoine is encouraged by Claire to take over the van and even helps Antoine paint the van with rainbow colors to become the 'Epicier Volante'. In time Antoine's brusque and distant personality is affected by the warmly humorous and significantly needy yet friendly old folks. He makes friends and extends himself as never before.

Claire wins her audition for Spain, the father is released form the hospital, François' life falls apart, and Antoine feels he must pay back his mother and move on. But the bonds between the changed Antoine and his family as well as his deep attachments to the old folks convince him to alter his plan for his life.

Many of the 'old folks' are cast from villagers who Guirado met while scouting for his film and these 'actors', together with some very fine character actors such as Liliane Rovère, give the film a feeling of authenticity. The scenery is gorgeous, the music is apropos, and the performances by the lead members of the cast are superb. This is a film to treasure - repeatedly. Highest Recommendation. Grady Harp
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Diverting, heartfelt variation on a familiar theme
Richard Burin8 April 2010
Le fils de l'épicier/The Grocer's Son (Eric Guirado, 2007) traverses well-worn ground in an appealing way. Nicolas Cazalé is agreeably gruff as the titular character, the Prodigal Son returning to the family he left behind (You Can Count on Me, In My Father's Den), whose pastoral existence is in stark contrast with the hubbub of the metropolis (I Know Where I'm Going!, Local Hero, Doc Hollywood).

Arriving with his almost-girlfriend, he takes on his ailing dad's rounds, finding both solace and frustration in the work. It's a bit erratic, with a couple of stretches that just consist of Cazale handing out food and an ending that's slightly rushed, but there are enough offbeat laughs and telling episodes to make it worthwhile. It's also a bit darker than you might expect, or at least more fraught.
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rich, complex, full-bodied ....
hsernaker28 October 2008
A very nice film I think you'd like.... fine acting, terrific musical score, richly nuanced character interactions. The theme of personal growth and relationship redemption is strong and compelling. That said, this same theme both resonates with and is diluted by being juxtaposed as parallel to the urban vs bucolic dichotomy. This is unfortunate only to the extent that it is an incidental distraction to the character dynamics, and misleading as an undercurrent suggesting some inherently beneficent quality to rural areas resistant to modernity.

The photography in itself is rather good but somehow I left feeling they could have done more with the panoramic vistas sensed in the background as well as to contrast the city vs country ambiance; somewhat better cinematography might have elevated this movie from really good to excellent. For me the film lacked perhaps the exuberance of a fine Amarone but 'tasted like a really good Cab'..

One for your list of films to see..
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Grocer Jacques
writers_reign27 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Those who seek to compare and contrast, trace lineage etc will cite as distinguished forbears of The Grocer's Son such titles as Une Hirodelle a fait le printemps, Le Grand chemin etc on the grounds that all three titles feature an urban protagonist either choosing or being obliged to move to a rural setting. Writer-director Eric Guirado throws us a curve inasmuch as HIS protagonist Antoine (Nicilas Cazale) had it up to here with Rural some ten years before the story starts and lit out for Paris where he has been drifting from dead-end job to dead-end job although Antoine would probably argue 'okay, I'm getting nowhere but I'm doing it in Paris, man'. Things change when his autocratic father, Daniel Duval, suffers a heart attack and Antoine very reluctantly agrees to return home and help his mother run the family grocery business, specifically by driving the mobile grocery van to the outlying hamlets that rely on it. His intitial contempt for the customers gradually turns to respect, admiration, affection and yes, even love, end of story. It is, of course, so much more than that and Guirado brings his documentary experience to bear and draws his cast from professional actors - none more distinguished than Paul Crauchet - and ordinary people thus creating a seamless blend of docu-drama replete with sub-plots like the brother who conceals from his family the fact that his wife has left him for some time and is now pregnant by another man, and the love interest, Clotilde Hesme, the divorcée of whom Antoine is enamoured. Purists may argue that Guirado tends to 'sell' the virtues of rural living and ignore the harsher realities explored so brilliantly in the recent documentary La Vie Moderne, and they would be correct so far as it goes but this remains a wonderfully lyrical film that should not be missed.
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The Documentary That's Not A Documentary
Seamus282915 August 2008
The Grocier's Son (or,'Le Fils De L'epicier')is a wonder. It's a small budgeted film that at first resembles a documentary film about a young man who returns to the village he grew up in to work his parents small grocery van,with a friend in tow. A closer look finds that it only looks that way. This loving peon to small town provincial life in the French countryside is a joy to look at. The characters are not always the nicest of folk (at least at first),but their spell works it's way into you after a while (give it time). The film is cast with (mostly) non professionals who actually live in the area. At times, I was reminded of films such as 'Local Hero',where the protagonist arrives at the destination a rather dour,grumpy sort, but is won over by the charm of the locals by film's end. I admired the films do it yourself (or D.I.Y.)look (a lot of the camera work is hand held). The use of music is minimal,relying on the natural sounds of the French countryside to weave it's magic spell on the characters in the story (not to mention the audience). Seek this one out.
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Delightfully Appetizing!
a-movie-fan10 February 2010
I have seen one review here that described this movie as a "dud" and another stating... "All French movies are either about sex or sons reconnecting with their fathers. This one is mostly about the latter." I cannot agree with either. I do not believe all French movies are about either 'sex or sons and their fathers' but I do believe a lot are family orientated.

This is a film based around a hard-working small town family who stumble and struggle through the same ups and downs that most of us have at one point or another with family and children, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity. So please do not miss this movie if you believe it to be just another about fathers/sons and/or sex, as you would be missing out on something very different.

I couldn't say it was a dud in any aspect. Yes, there are flaws, it's not polished perfect but then again, neither are people and life. Because of this I found myself feeling more invested as a parent/spouse/sibling.

The lush scenery and quaint village became characters unto themselves with their lush beauty and vibrant colors. I've not watched a movie for some time where I could say a vehicle became such a huge part of the story. However, I believe it to be the central part of this movie, the proverbial beating heart willing all to see what it sees and proving that sometimes all is not lost and it doesn't take much at all to have things back up and running.

Eric Guirado has done a tremendous job of balancing the story and characters. It felt more of an ensemble piece to me. I read he'd spent time watching actual villagers and successfully as in most cases I wasn't sure who was an extra and who was a paid actor. If you've lived in a small village/town you'll surely appreciate the diversity.

The only negative I have is although I loved the Deleted scenes and Outtakes, I couldn't help but want a longer 'Making Of' after the movie finished.

It is definitely a movie I recommend you see and if you do, I'm sure most will find it as enjoyable as I did.
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In a nutshell
carlyvo17 November 2009
All French movies are either about sex or sons reconnecting with their fathers. This one is mostly about the latter.

The powers-that-IMD-be demand eight more lines of text.

It's a charming movie well-described in these other reviews. The plot, simple as it is, is contrived. But you won't mind. The acting is lovely, as are the actors. They're charming. The countryside is charming. The grocery truck is charming. Even the little grocery items-sausages on strings and juniper pate- are charming. It made me nostalgic for the summer jobs of my youth. France's answer to "Adventureland."
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Subtle and delicious.
jean-walker-120 October 2008
Loved this film. Maybe the last reviewer was out of the room at the time but all of the questions mentioned below WERE answered in the film as far as I'm concerned. I guess some people want more up front than French films are sometimes willing to give. The viewer is left to do a little brain work them self and that's fine by me. It's like any good novel - you don't have to be given all the answers all of the time - it leaves no room for the imagination. The scenery was gorgeous, the characters believable - what's wrong with being a male hairdresser in a small French village? And the unfolding of the relationships was as subtle as they often are in European movies. But if you don't like subtle and slow, don't go.
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Getting out and about in the countryside
robert-temple-14 December 2012
This is the first feature film directed by documentary film-maker Eric Guirado. For that reason it records its progress as it goes, rather methodically, like a doctor reading the rise in temperature on a thermometer. This results in the main character, Antoine, played by Nicholas Cazalé, being surly and unsympathetic for more than an hour before he begins to lighten up and become a bit human. Although that is the point of the story, one does tire of his ego-centred rudeness and lack of concern for others to the point where one is barely available for sympathy as he begins, slowly and painfully, to turn into a nicer guy under the softening influence of the quintessentially French countryside and its rustic inhabitants. The film is mostly shot in the foothills of the French Alps, and the scenery is really beautiful. (Guirado himself comes from the area.) Antoine is a renegade son of a bullying father who has fled to Paris long ago to live his own life, not very successfully. He has enough chips on his shoulders to supply a fish 'n' chips shop. He takes offence at everything, and is permanently aggrieved. His father has had a stroke and Antoine is summoned home to the small village from which he came by his mother, to help her run the small family grocery business, which includes a mobile van which takes groceries to people living far from any town, who are mostly elderly and are called 'les vieux' ('the old folks'). He is accompanied by a girl named Claire who has been living with him, but not as a girlfriend. She is played by Clothilde Hesme. Hesme was to appear later with Audrey Tautou, the Elf, in the amusing film HAPPY END (2009), and in the fascinating Raoul Ruiz TV mini-series MYSTERIES OF LISBON (2010), as Elisa de Montfort. She has very blue eyes, and an enigmatic set of expressions which often send mixed signals, thus conveying an unrelenting, continuous ambiguity. That makes her very good casting for a film where the girl's role is not meant to be all that clear. Is she or isn't she? Does she or doesn't she? She's perfect for that sort of thing. Daniel Duval plays the bullying patriarch who constantly criticizes and humiliates his son. With all these tensions going on, things get very, well, tense. At first Antoine is so obsessed with his anger and resentment that he barely sees the beautiful scenery and barely focuses on les vieux, who drive him into a rage when they cannot pay the full price for some petits pois and want a bit of credit 'until next time'. Antoine's father is extremely popular with them all because he has highly personalised and friendly relations with them all going back over the years. Antoine rubs all these people up the wrong way at first and everything is becoming disastrous. Claire helps to humanize him and eventually he is softened into realizing that les vieux are rather pathetic and very nice, that life is peaceful and can be enjoyed, and that the village and the van are not so degrading and exasperating for him after all. The theme of the film is thus how the foothills of the Alps and the eccentric locals who live there can slowly wear away at you like a creek and make you a smoother pebble in the stream of life. So if you stick with it, the film pays off and is well worth watching. But if you demand a thrill a minute, it's not for you. It is slow, steady, and can teach people a lot. Those of us who have lived far from a town know what it is like to expect the appearance of a van which saves us the trouble of driving for many miles for the simplest things, and whether it is 'the fish man', a travelling grocer as in this film, a roving butcher's van, or even a milkman, in 'remote parts' it becomes an event when the van turns up, and people become very jolly very quickly exchanging the latest gossip, and want to know what is happening with so and so down the road. What a pity all of these vans are vanishing, as the supermarkets gobble up all trade and roll out their carpet of mediocrity and dehumanised offerings, and even the women at the checkout are afraid to make a joke lest they lose their jobs for dallying. This film is all about dallying. Long may we dally, until it too is banned as politically incorrect, as so many once harmless jokes now are.
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A feel-good treat
TheOneAndOnlyCMC30 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The Grocer's Son was a wonderful trip through a small French village. I enjoyed the movie very much. It felt as if I was also a local villager. I love the transformation of the main character from a self-centered egotist to someone who genuinely cares for the villagers along his route.

There were many nice things that Antoine does for the older customers that make their lives more bearable, from repairing the chicken coupe, to carrying groceries to the home of a woman recently released from the hospital to extending credit and giving rides. Antoine comes full circle and is rewarded in the end with the return of Claire.

Great story and great film-making!
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dull avoid....
filmalamosa16 December 2011
Someone else commented on this film perfectly...there is almost zero character development.

You don't care about the main character because all you know is he is sullen and doesn't like his father.

His girl friend appears you learn nothing about she met the main character etc...

Then you follow a mobile grocery store making its rounds and see all kinds of old people who are not actors buying things from it.

However the main character will rub you wrong in the beginning it is hard to like him or the film. Plus why do all young male actors now have 6 day do they keep it like that?
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It starts out very slow...but bear with this one.
MartinHafer24 November 2016
"The Grocer's Son" is a film that many folks will give up on, as it is slow and very deliberately paced. I know I was very tempted to turn off the movie and am glad I didn't. It is worth your time.

When the film begins, Antoine's father has had a heart attack and is in the hospital. It soon becomes apparent that Antoine (Nicolas Cazalé) has only come to the hospital for his mother's long ago he left home and swore to stay away due to his relationship with his dad. Despite all this, he reluctantly agrees to leave the city and move back home, temporarily, to help his mother with the family business. I was surprised by this because although they own a small general store in the country, the business also has a small truck that travels about selling to the locals outside their homes.

Antoine is terrible at his job. He is surly, bitter and a jerk. His lady friend Claire, is a very nice and sweet girl...but after a while Antoine's bitterness push her away. Is there any hope for Antoine or his really screwed up family?

As I mentioned, this is a slow film...very, very slow. However, the story comes together very nicely and believably at the end...making the journey worth your time and trouble.
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Life in French countryside
paulccarroll33 January 2014
I grew up living in the country in the 1970's and have always had a penchant for films about people moving from the big city back to their rural roots, or about the close connections people develop when they rely on each other,because they are all they have to rely on. This film is about that,Like American films Doc Hollywood,or the period drama,Places in the Heart,or gentle romances like Baby Boom and Murphey's Romance,Local Hero and many others. Some set of circumstances brings the main character back to live in a small rural area and they grow to love and appreciate the local people and their close knit ways.This film also features beautiful scenery of the French Alp country,and it makes you wonder if there could be some way that you might be able to live there and make a living,but you expect that you couldn't, or many others would already be there. Still, this film is a pleasant escape from our urban existence for a few minutes.
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A lovely quiet film!
Syl24 December 2013
This French film is a character driven film about a young man who returns home to his small French village where the father runs a small grocery store and has a delivery service to the rural areas. At first, he is resistant to serving mostly older customers. For his clientèle, he slowly warms up to them. His friend, Claire, joins him for awhile studying for school. She brings complication between him and his brother. Both sons are grown men who have serious problems. Their father is in the hospital while his son runs the family business. Their mother is quiet, loving, and kind. The family comes together. Their family business isn't the supermarket. You can relate too! I enjoy it!
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the subtle changes in tone and reflectiveness as paint dries . . .
teknozen27 May 2012
Nicolas Cazale is an interesting actor to watch, and if you are the sort of person who finds the subtle changes in tone and reflectiveness as paint dries fascinating, you may find this sweet little movie equally absorbing.

Otherwise, the flick's chief fault is an excess of sentimental charm. The scenery in and around the French mountain village where the story takes place is gorgeous. No doubt it would be a lovely place to rent a cottage for a week or two and take long walks before curling up with a good book to stave off the boredom because the story here is much too slight to otherwise keep one occupied.

If you understand enough French to get by without looking at the subtitles, The Grocer's Son could make for entirely tasteful images to have on the TV whilst you go about the house doing something else. Don't worry if your French is not all that fluent. There's still plenty of charm to fill the void left by less than scintillating dialogue.

Cazale, btw, is even more interesting playing a bad boy in Three Dancing Slaves.
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Uninteresting, self-indulgent
herakleitos10021 July 2012
Boring movie. Uninteresting plot; uninteresting characters with none of whom the audience can sympathize. This is the worst of Gallic excess: why do the French think they can get away with producing movies without plot or characters? Scenes with "meaningful glances" and "heartfelt smiles" are substitutes neither for plots in which something actually happens that makes sense nor rich dialogue with significant intellectual content. Boring music. The supposedly free-spirited character Claire is smug, annoying and again devoid of interest.

The only good things going for this film are the scenery and the acting.

Don't waste your time with this film.
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Background Clouds
tedg23 January 2011
Some films are just ribbon. They do not intend anything beyond being a simple palliative. You'll find these in the "feel good" section.

In this case, we have our man, unhappy with himself and with father and girlfriend problems. By the end he will have found himself, we know for sure. There will be nothing along the way we can use. Nothing. Too bad, because the setup has him in a grocer's van as a surrogate traveling theater. We know this is intended because his on-off girlfriend is doing a thesis on performance, in Almodovar-influenced Spain. But the filmmaker chose to ignore this.

This does have a few likable women, some pleasant enough scenery and superb sound design.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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A real clunker
buzzbruin20 July 2008
This film would serve as a sleep aid. If you want to run a grocery store see this film. Otherwise, don't waste your time (even for rental. This is one of the most boring films ever made. There is ZERO development of relationships. There is no explanation of why the lead left his home 10 years ago. The romance has no reason,background or development. The female lead has no more than a cameo role and we gather nothing about her personal life, including parents, point of origin. We have no understanding of the male lead. Whats he been doing for 10 years? What is his profession. His brother is a hairdresser (WOW) The feelings between father and son are never explained (I gather the father was and is, a SOB). I gather a lot of the people in the film were not real actors (and neither were the professionals!! If didn't feel the need to get out of the house, we agreed we would NEVER have watched on DVD. Please skip this French DUD!!
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