Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Foreign
Run Time: 1 hour 45 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbe, Jules Sitruk, Mehdi Dehbi, Areen Omari, Khalifa Natour
Co-Written & Directed by Lorraine Levy (The First Time I Turned Twenty, London mon amour)
What would you do if you found out that your teenage child was actually not yours? My parents may be thrilled (joking, mom...), but this very serious and tragic question is the crux of The Other Son.
This film is a straight drama - although the whole "switched at birth" theme has been the plot of many a comedy. Here, we are in the midst of a very sobering situation.
Heightening the drama are the politics involved. The two young men - one Israeli and one Palestinian - must deal with these cultural differences.
Director Lorraine Levy smartly positions this tale centered on family. It is more concerned with the dynamics of mother/son and father/son than it is with making any bold statements about the world. I found this to be a smart move, because universally, family is family. Others could take this as a missed opportunity to make more of a socio-political statement.
Helped out by an outstanding ensemble cast, there is deep emotion running through the film and much of the inner-workings of the family dynamics felt very real. On the whole though, it tends to act more as an example of "wishful thinking" than anything else.
We all kind of know that if we just opened our eyes and our minds a little bit, we may be able to consider peace and loving thy neighbor and all of that good stuff. The Other Son does an effective job at convincing us of these truths. Though often times heart-breaking, it manages to portray real human emotions without it ever feeling melodramatic. In any case, The Other Son takes a tired premise and ends up weaving an effective, human story.
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