The Well Digger's Daughter 2011

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(96) IMDb 7/10
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A father in pre-WWII France is torn between his sense of honor and his deep love for his saintly daughter when she gets in trouble with the wealthy son of a shopkeeper.

Starring:
Daniel Auteuil, Kad Merad
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Starring Daniel Auteuil, Kad Merad, Sabine Azéma
Director Daniel Auteuil
Genres Drama, Romance
Studio 20th Century Fox
Rental release 19 March 2012
Main languages French
Original title La fille du puisatier

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Chalcotribist on 21 Mar 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An absolutely beautiful and stunning film. From the moment the film opens, with the shot of Patricia (the eldest daughter of the well digger and superbly played by Astrid Berges-Frisbey) walking across a Provencal field strewn with poppies to take her father his lunch, it was obvious that one was in for a cinematic treat. The scenes of the Provencal countryside are magnificent. Daniel Auteuil is marvellous - both as actor in and director of this piece - an adaptation of a novel, set in Provence in 1940, by Marcel Pagnol. The rest of the cast, including Nicolas Duvauchelle as Jacques, the young French fighter pilot with whom Patricia falls in love, do not disappoint. All were excellent in their respective roles, making this one of the best adaptations ever of a Pagnol novel. It should not be missed. Quite why this film failed to gain any awards, other than that of the World Soundtrack Award for 2011, beats me. It should have swept the board.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Dec 2011
Format: DVD
Like 'Jean de Florette' and 'Manon des Sources', this film is based on a story by Maurice Pagnol. Like those two films also, it is beautifully filmed in very pretty French countryside where it does not seem to rain (and perhaps it doesn't in real life, or not much). Visually, it is lovely. It is also a feel-good film with a pleasant dash of French quirkiness. Daniel Auteuil plays Pascal Amoretti, the well-digger of the title, a very decent man with an old-fashioned and rather whimsical set of rural values, who has brought up six pretty daughters - the youngest is four years old, the oldest, Patricia, eighteen. With his assistant Felipe, an entirely good-natured and kindly man, he plies his energetic trade. Patricia meets Jacques Mazel, the son of the local store-keeper, charming and rather dashing (and trustworthy?). She is then fairly rapidly pregnant, he is sent off to war, and they are separated. In any case, the social gap between them is significant, and the Mazels want nothing to do with Amoretti and his family. This leads to Major Complications. The plot works itself out and it all ends .... well, I shouldn't say, so I shan't. It is a thoroughly pleasant film with excellent acting from Auteuil and the other principals. It does not quite have the sharp edge of 'Manon des Sources' and 'Jean', but the course of true love does not run smoothly and it is not a sentimental film #except where the baby is concerned ; he cries as little as it rains in his part of the world#. It is surprising and amusing in places, and there is genuine tenderness in some scenes, especially where the well-digger and his daughter are concerned. I don't think it's a great film, but it is a good one and well worth a look.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Cinekalou on 10 Oct 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of the best films I've watched this year. The acting is great and refined, the scenery and colours are breathtaking. The dialogue is crafted as in the original book.
I'm surprised no one yet has commented on the music. A real treat. It nourishes the soul and brings out well all the emotions felt in the story. How wonderful it is to hear very old tracks (Caruso 1911!) remastered in stereo with wonderful full orchestra. An hour later I was downloading the soundtrack.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Jan 2012
Format: DVD
Set in the sundrenched Provence countryside near the town of Salon at the outbreak of World War 2, this soft-centred but often surprisingly moving tale follows the well-worn trail of the innocent young girl who falls for a wealthy cad. In this case, Patricia, daughter of a simple but fiercely proud well-digger finds herself pregnant after Jacques, spoiled son of the owner of the local hardware store, has been sent off to fight at the front. How will her father react when he learns that his "angelic princess" is no better than other girls? Will Jacques's doting mother feel her son should "do the decent thing" and marry the girl? As the well-digger observes, "You can't trust people who sell tools but don't use them."

Patricia is more than just a pretty face. In addition to receiving a period of education in Paris with a wealthy benefactor, she has a strong sense of honesty and integrity which may pierce Jacques's worldly cynicism, although you wonder whether he would be capable of being faithful to her in the long run.

There are some entertaining further plot twists in the dogged devotion to Patricia of Félipe,assistant to the well-digger Pascal. In turn, Félipe is loved in longsuffering silence by Patricia's younger sister Amanda. Then there is Pascal's blend of shrewdness and stubborn stupidity, his rueful shouldering of the burden of six daughters after his wife's death.

We see an exploration of some of the dilemmas of French rural society. It is shameful for a daughter to have a bastard child, yet a man's dearest wish is to have a boy child to bear his surname, even if at one remove as a grandson....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By andy on 7 Nov 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Well-Digger’s Daughter (Original title – La Fille Du Puisatier), Daniel Auteuil’s first film as a director, also has Auteuil in the cast and he has a writing credit.

The Well-Digger’s Daughter has a wonderful cast (Daniel Auteuil, Kad Merad, Sabine Azéma, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Asrid Bergès-Frisbey, Emilie Cazenave and Marie-Anne Chazel amongst others), and they all perform brilliantly and very naturally.

There seems to be much attention to detail, for example with costumes, cars and even wallpaper and you really feel a sense of time and place. From the very start (with a stunning shot of the countryside) there is some beautifully shot scenery, and not only the outdoor scenes but all the photography is to say the least, very well done.

Music composed by Alexandre Desplat is the music of the film and it is easy to hear why is regarded so highly.

This gentile romantic drama has its pace just right and in keeping with its setting in terms of time and place. It is a wonderful film and is one that I know I will be watching again.

For anyone who is familiar with Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources it is difficult not to think of Daniel Auteuil in the films of those stories when thinking about his character in The Well-Digger’s Daughter. Daniel Auteuit’s character in The Well-digger’s Daughter is an altogether different one to his character in Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources but those characters originally came from the same author (Marcel Pagnol) and they are all set in the same area.
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