A Bad Son

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"A film by Claude Sautet"
  • NR
  • 1980
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 7.3  (1,407)

A Bad Son is a 1980 French drama film directed by Claude Sautet and starring Patrick Dewaere, Brigitte Fossey, and Jacques Dufilho. Set in the early 1970s, the movie follows the story of Bruno Calgani played by Dewaere, a well-known journalist who lives a bohemian lifestyle in Paris. He is the son of a wealthy industrialist, but their relationship is strained due to the father's disapproval of his son's chosen profession.

Bruno's life takes a dramatic turn when he receives a call informing him of his father's death. He returns to his hometown, a small city in the South of France, for the funeral and to reconnect with his mother, played by Fossey, and his sister. Their reunion is not a happy one, as they haven't seen Bruno in years and have no fond memories of him. However, Bruno begins to sense that something is not quite right with the circumstances surrounding his father's death. He starts to investigate and discovers that his father may have been murdered.

As he delves deeper into the investigation, Bruno's relationships with his family members become increasingly complicated. His mother resents him for abandoning them and his sister is pregnant with a child conceived out of wedlock, which causes conflict with their conservative community. Bruno also finds himself falling for his sister's best friend, played by Nicole Garcia, who helps him in his quest for the truth.

A Bad Son is a powerful and emotionally charged drama that explores themes of family, grief, and identity. Dewaere delivers a standout performance as the conflicted Bruno, conveying both his charm and his flaws as a character. Fossey is equally impressive as his mother, providing a nuanced portrayal of a woman dealing with the loss of her husband and the estrangement of her son.

One of the strengths of the film is its depiction of the South of France as a place steeped in tradition and where outsiders are not necessarily welcome. This creates a palpable tension that runs throughout the narrative and adds to the sense of alienation that Bruno experiences. At its heart, A Bad Son is a character study that explores the complex dynamics of a family and the aftermath of a tragedy.

The film is notable for its realistic and naturalistic portrayal of its characters and their relationships. Sautet's direction is subtle and nuanced, allowing the actors to shine without ever resorting to melodrama. The cinematography is also noteworthy, with the film capturing the beauty of the French countryside in a way that feels both authentic and cinematic.

In conclusion, A Bad Son is a deeply affecting drama that tells a compelling story about family, grief, and the search for truth. The film is anchored by strong performances and nuanced direction, making it a must-see for fans of French cinema and drama in general.

A Bad Son
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (1,407)