The Other Son

The Sad Switch-Up


26 October 2012| No Comments on The Other Son     by Sean Chavel


Somewhat educational drama about a mix-up between Israeli and Palestine identities is rendered drab. The Other Son (French, Hebrew and Arabic in English subtitles) features Emannuelle Devos as a French physician married to Pascal Elbe as an Israel Jew army officer who learns via DNA test that their adult son was of Palestine blood. The other parents learn, too, albeit they are more upset but warm to it as well as they can. This fiction tale was filmed in Israel and the West Bank, but you should best know yourself before going in for the film doesn’t offer graphics or a map.

This is without doubt, an austere French film. It has a naturalistic photographic style, yet the camera movement and actors blocking is rigged and obvious in too many shots. But the actors are very good at the least. The sons learn of each other, of course, and they have fits of identity crises that is far too unexplained. The angry son pouts and goes on long walks – this is not enlightening as social commentary or entertaining as drama.

Interestingly, and believably, Devos turns out to have an affection for both sons including the one she never knew. She is glowing by this new thought, but downplays it because it could inspire a rivalry. The families from both sides get passport approvals and visit each other, then the sons go on individual trips, and mutually, an unconventional family is formed.

Yet there is a certain dead air about the production, too self-conscious and somber. And worse, a contrived act of violence takes place at nighttime that is so wretchedly filmed you can’t tell what happened. A serious, quasi-meaningful ending is then patched on that subtracts from the rest of the film’s merits.

105 Minutes. Unrated.


Film Cousins: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967); “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser” (1974, Germany); “The Imposter” (2012); “Tears of Gaza” (2012).


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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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