The Well-Digger's Daughter - DVD Review

'does well to create a warm family atmosphere... he Little Women-alike household positively buzzes with matriarchal activity'

A relative unknown French release from 2011, The Well-Digger's Daughter is worth searching out, particularly for families after something a little different to watch together.

The sweet story focuses on Astrid Bergès-Frisbey's Patricia who, having been romanced by dashing Jacques (Nicolas Duvauchelle) finds herself in the awkward position of being pregnant with no husband, in conservative rural France on the edge of a Second World War. Confused and slightly put upon father Pascal (Daniel Auteuil, who also writes and directs) attempts to cope in generally the worst ways possible.

In thematic terms there are echoes in Pascal's befuddled realisation of a new and unwelcome dawn with France's arrival at the doorstep of unwelcome history. Certainly this goes some way to explaining why Auteuil gives so much focus to his own character, given that Bergès-Frisbey is both the titular character, and lead. Pascal at first reacts with a level of horror, then moves to incredulity before arriving at practical acceptance and searching for a solution. If you want to believe that the director stretches the metaphor further, there are also several elements of Pascal searching for an ally in Jacques' family.

Such concerns though are really secondary in a film that does well to create a warm family atmosphere around Pascal and Patricia, the former constantly complaining that he is 'cursed' to have only daughters. The Little Women-alike household positively buzzes with matriarchal activity and Auteuil is both wise and sentimental enough to include a radiant finale in the last third.

Of note too is the biggest 'name' involved with all of this: Alexandre Desplat, whose score is predictably terrific.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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