The Other Son
As he is preparing to join the Israeli army for his national service, Joseph discovers he is not his parents biological son, and that he was inadvertently switched at birth with Yacine, the son of a Palestinian family from the West Bank.
© 2012 Rapsodie Production/ Cité Films/ France 3 Cinéma/ Madeleine Films/SoLo Films
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Tomatometer®reviews counted: 20see all The Other Son reviews
Top Critic Reviews
Fresh: Ms. Lvy is rescued from her maudlin, preachy tendencies by the skill and sensitivity of the actors, who turn a wobbly parable of tolerance into a graceful and touching story of real people in a surreal situation.
- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Thursday, October 25, 2012
Rotten: "The Other Son" is a case of good intentions overwhelming the inherent drama - quite simply, political correctness got the best of it
- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, October 25, 2012
Rotten: A humane but emotionally anemic message movie whose dramatic craft doesn't live up to its good intentions.
- Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Thursday, November 15, 2012
A compelling drama that relies on the charisma of its two main characters and the way they deal with a delicate situation. But it leaves some loose ends and tries too obviously to make a statement, ending on a rather frustrating, optimistic note.
- blacksheepboy, Sunday, September 23, 2012
"The Other Son" starts with Joseph Silberg(Jules Sitruk) finding his being inducted into the Israel Defense Forces getting a little complicated. This has less to do with his occasional hashish use than with his blood type which is incompatible to his parents, Orith(Emmanuelle Devos), a doctor, and Alon(Pascal Elbe), a colonel. Playing a hunch, a colleague of hers traces the conundrum back to the night Joseph was born in a hospital in Haifa. During an air raid, he was accidentally switched with the baby of Leila(Areen Omari) and Said Al Bezaaz(Khalifa Natour) of the West Bank. At least it looks like Joseph may get out of military service while his opposite number, Yacine(Mehdi Dehbi), returns from school in Paris. One may not be exactly wrong in assuming the whole switched at birth motif has been done to death with ABC Family currently gnawing on its bones on a weekly basis. Even lacking much of a story, "The Other Son" finds a new angle by employing it to smartly explore the nature of family and identity in Israel and the West Bank where two peoples are kept separate against each other, as exemplified by a lovely shot of a person walking along the security wall at night. Sure, it may ask a lot to believe that some interests like medicine and music are genetically transmitted but that's just a valuable reminder that we are not so different after all.
- gator681, Sunday, November 11, 2012
Obviously the predicament that one's child is not your own would be traumatic news in and of itself. But placing the babies on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and you have a most interesting twist to further complicate matters. French director Lorraine Levy sidesteps a deep discussion of the heated beliefs that underlie the political situation there. Instead the setting allows her to address various topics from a very intimate, personal perspective. In this way, the script suggests political disagreements between countries are more the result of governments fighting and less a cause clbre of the actual citizens. This is a story about people. It asserts the idea that one's entire identity can be arbitrarily defined simply by geography. How that personality can change over time is also explored. If there is a failing, it's that the saga never fully resonates with the understanding needed to completely empathize with their plight. Despite the best of intentions, the setup feels slightly contrived. Although I was invested in their lives, I didn't experience the clarifying breakthrough that I felt the narrative required. Yet the performances still ring true. The sincerity of the actors elevate the plot past a mere concept created by a writer into a fascinating picture worth watching.
- hobster1, Friday, November 16, 2012