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4.4 out of 5 stars163
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 March 2012
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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on 10 October 2012
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 December 2011
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 January 2012
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....

The film is well-directed by the respected French actor Daniel Auteuil who also plays the role of the well-digger, apparently drawing on his native southern accent. Although his acting may seem a little over the top at times, I have met Frenchmen prone to the vivid expression of such deep and rapid shifts of emotion.

Recommended as a watchable and entertaining if lightweight drama.
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on 13 April 2012
The Well-Digger's Daughter is a brilliant film. Just go for it. I have not the faintest idea why french films hardly ever reach Danish Movie Theaters or Danish Television, because films like this, is just the best. They knock out any Hollywood production by miles and miles.

And this is a new Pagnol Classic. It will last for years to come.
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on 22 September 2012
This is unashamedly French cinema of the old school. Beautifully photographed in the sunlit countryside of Provence and a good old-fashioned story depicted by a super cast. It is early days in WW2 and the six daughters of well-digger Pascal (Auteil) fuss around him like hens round a pail of corn. The eldest daughter ,Patricia,(Astrid Berges-Frisbey) meets the handsome son of a well-to-do village merchant whilst washing some clothes down by a nearby river. They decide to meet again, a relationship develops but the young man has to go off to war (he is a pilot), without knowing that the girl has become pregnant. Time passes and the young man, Jacques, is lost and thought to be a casualty of the war. The baby,a boy, is born and a conflict arises between the family of Jacques and Pascal,who yearns for a boy in the family, over its upbringing. It is a story that deals with class and position in local society - the common artisan workman and the wealthy family of Jacques. This is a wonderfully entertaining film, the outcome of which keeps one guessing right up to the end. The film's opening scene of Patricia walking through poppy strewn fields assures the viewer that they are in for a treat! And there is no disappoinment in this area! The movie maybe not be in the same league as 'Jean de Florette' and 'Manon Des Source' but it is not fair to compare against those masterpieces. At least this films story is set in the same countryside and you'll be glad you did not miss this treat !
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on 3 April 2012
Excellent, portraying the problems experienced by many outside the immediate protagonists of a relationship that goes further than it ought. It has a charm often found in French films that is totally absent from the products of the Hollyowood factory.

A must watch!
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An unashamedly happy story (after a harsher middle) a tale of rural folk, a beautiful daughter, the wayward son of the local shop-owner, war, and the birth of a child. If Jean de Florette tugged at the heartstrings this Pagnol tale opts for happier climes from its excellent cast, and the local countryside which should get star billing. If Thomas Hardy had written this it would have been a lot grimmer, but thankfully he was busy elsewhere.
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on 10 September 2014
Great to watch these old, uncomplicated movies - a small story, yet a big story about families and traditions, genuine pride earned through generations, and superiority as a result of wealth. And in the end, love conquers all, like they say. The well digger with his family of daughters, whom he truly loves and adores, regards his eldest daughter an angel, but so does a young boy from a wealthy family. Great was the father's shame when he learnt that his daughter was expecting a illegitimate child; he sent her away to live with his sister. The well digger is a proud and respected man; his employee, despite his love for the daughter, is the one who not only brings a father to his senses, but brings families together. A lovely story!
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on 2 September 2012
This was a delight from start to finish. The development of the characters, the rural scenery,the attitudes to life in 1914, and the climb from despair to happiness with honour restored made for delightful watching.
Highly reccommended!
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