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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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TOP 1000 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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on 7 December 2012
Please buy the (2 in 1)book like I did its soooo much better. The slow building revelations have so mush more impact. I was left screaming at the book as the title character and her family was subjected to subtlely cruel machinations of their their neighbour and his uncle, then the tragic consequences and the girls romantic and mischevous revenge woah!
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on 7 December 2012
This film should have been watched about 30 years ago as it was far too naive for my liking.
It might however, appeal to other viewers whose taste does not run to more sophisticated film.
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on 7 November 2014
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 gentle 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.

I find Daniel Auteuil to be a superb actor, even though I haven't enjoyed all of the films that I have seen him in (the 2003 film Après Vous for one, though my lack of enjoyment was not because of his acting), but now I feel I can say he is a superb director as well, and am now keen to see the other films he has directed, namely: "Marius", "Fanny" and "César", all three once again being Marcel Pagnol stories.
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on 26 February 2013
When I purchased the film there was no statement saying it was a french film with subtitles. Don't like watching films with subtitles so haven't watched it.
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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 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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on 11 December 2014
Its a pity that I was not informed on the front of the DVD that it was in a foreign language.
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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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