The grocer’s son is gripped by peach-fuzz memories of his family as he travels to see his father in the hospital, and from the disheveled flat where his mother struggles to sit on a bean bag to the grocery store where François (Stéphan Guérin-Tillié) jokingly diagnoses his little bro’s abysmal human touch, writer-director Eric Guirado cloyingly sets up the inevitable: City mouse Antoine (Nicolas Cazalé) will—god dammit!—leave his no-good ways behind. Near his bucolic childhood home, Antoine takes over his father’s grocery cart, delivering goods to fogies whose eccentricities turn his umbrage meter to high: an old man Antoine suspects of selective deafness perpetually underpays for his groceries; a woman asks for her purchases to be put on credit; and when he drives all the way to a woman who only chooses to buy three tomatoes, he charges her five euros for daring to ask him to say a little prayer for her at a nearby church. “I don’t live for others,” Antoine says, boiling his brother’s blood while a Super-8 memory flickers in the background. “You don’t give a shit about anybody,” responds François, and from the look on their mother’s face you can tell she’s in agreement. Interestingly, Antoine never loses his glumness so much as he learns how to use it as a weapon of camaraderie instead of a mode of self-preservation, but if his behavior can be traced to his relationship to his equally prickly father, their baggage goes strangely unexplored. Worse, the story cavalierly underlines its themes, as in one of Antoine’s customers casually mentioning how he moved his family to the area so the country air could ease the stress of his wife’s recent breakdown, and the sex and happiness of the film’s women is tritely offered as rewards for Antoine turning a new leaf. A sweet tale of a man learning to care about others, The Grocer’s Son is still simpleminded on a very fundamental level.
- Film Movement
- 96 min
- Eric Guirado
- Eric Guirado, Florence Vignon
- Nicolas Cazalé, Clotilde Hesme, Jeanne Goupil, Daniel Duval, Stéphan Guérin-Tillié, Liliane Rovère, Paul Crauchet, Chad Chenouga, Benoît Giros, Ludmila Ruoso
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