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The Grocer's Son

60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It is summer, and thirty-year-old Antoine is forced to leave the city to return to his family in Provence. His father is sick, so he must assume the lifestyle he thought he had shed driving the family grocery cart from hamlet to hamlet, delivering supplies to the few remaining inhabitants. Accompanied by Claire, a friend from Paris whom he has a secret crush on, Antoine gradually warms up to his experience in the country and his encounters with the villagers, who initially seem stubborn and gruff, but ultimately prove to be funny and endearing. Ultimately, this surprise French box-office hit is about the coming-of-age of a man re-discovering life and love in the countryside.


Triumphant! [A] Gem of a film! --By STEPHEN HOLDEN, New York Times

Seductive... Irresistible... Remarkable throughout! --By RONNIE SCHEIB, Variety

The Grocer's Son is an unalloyed pleasure, start to finish! --By JIM VAN MAANEN, Green Cine

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Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Nicolas Cazale, Clotilde Hesme, Jeanne Goupil, Daniel Duval, Liliane Rovere
  • Directors: Eric Guirado
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,657 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Grocer's Son" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 31, 2008
Format: DVD
Le Fils de l'épicier (The Grocer's Son) is one of the loveliest films of the year. Written (with Florence Vignon) and directed by Eric Guirado, this little taste of French life is as refreshing as the fruits and vegetables on the traveling grocery van that is a focal point of the story. Though at first glance it appears to be a simple tale of a son begrudgingly taking over his invalid father's business, Guirado has embroidered this story with so many warm details that the film begs to be seen again and again to make sure nothing has been missed.

Antoine Sforza (the gifted and handsome young actor Nicolas Cazalé) is a thirty something young waiter, unable to find satisfaction in his various jobs he opted for when he left his home ten years ago: his relationship with his father was strained and Antoine did not care to 'waste' his life in a village as an grocer (épicier). He has a 'girlfriend' Claire (Clotilde Hesme) who is trying to save money to go to Spain to study, and when his father (Daniel Duval) is hospitalized with a heart attack, he begrudgingly agrees to return home - with the proviso that his mother lend him money that he in turn gives to Claire so that she can complete her dream of studying in Spain. Antoine's brother François (Stéphan Guérin-Tillié) owns a beauty salon and, despite the family's concept that he is the stable one, has troubles of his own. Antoine's mother (Jeanne Goupil) is desperate for help: she has managed to run the little store in the village, but a major source of income has come from the van the father drives through the countryside, selling groceries to the old folks.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Donald M. Bishop on February 26, 2009
Format: DVD
"The Grocer's Son" tells a quiet story. Young Antoine (Nicolas Cazale) returns from Paris to his home town in Provence to tend his parents' small store while his father recovers from a heart attack. His friend Claire (Clotilde Hasme) comes along. His parents' family business includes an old van that makes the round of local crossroads, selling groceries mostly to the elderly. So Antoine begins making the daily rounds.

The photography of the Provence countryside is wonderful. The village scenes and the elderly actors give a viewer an agreeable glimpse of another country and society. There's French languor and mood music. The film's low key and slow pace help focus on the characters and how they change in the course of the film -- as Antoine, whose life in Paris had been unsuccessful, comes back into the ties of family and community which he had once rejected.

As we see from other relationships in the film (Antoine's brother, or his high school friend who runs the local garage), though, ties that bind can also be ties that burden. Willingness to accept the burdens is an important milestone in life.

"The Grocer's Son" harks back to the story of the Prodigal Son, set in a different place and time. When so many movies feature exploding cars, robots or aliens, or stomach-turning crimes, "The Grocer's Son" provides a welcome change of pace.

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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ron on September 1, 2008
Format: DVD
It's been a while since I saw a French film that I really liked. I think the last one was LES VOLLEURS that starred Catherine Deneuve and Daniel Auteuil. There was a time when France used to make brilliant films, one right after the other. This was called the French New Wave that consisted of Truffaut, Goddard, Rohmer, etc. Well, I'm happy to report that THE GROCER'S SON is every bit as good as anything that came out of the French New Wave. Actually, it reminded me more of a Rohmer film: a character study. It's a very observant and perceptive film on growing up: when someone stops thinking about themselves and appreciates other people. The relationship between Antoine and Claire exemplifies this point. Antoine is clearly only thinking about himself when he decides not to mail Claire's academic papers. Eventually, he takes on life's responsibilities (he decides not to quit his job as a grocer) and starts thinking about other people (his customers). Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on January 12, 2009
Format: DVD

Even from his earliest days, Antoine Sfouza has made it the goal of his life not to have anything to do with the family business. That`s why, in his late teens, he left the town where he was born and raised and headed off to the big city in search of fame, fortune and a better life for himself. The problem is that now, at the ripe old age of thirty, Antoine finds himself an embittered ne'er-do-well loser, waiting tables in a sidewalk cafe and living in a dreary one-room flat in Paris, all but estranged from the family that raised him. But after his father is hospitalized with a heart attack, Antoine reluctantly returns to help his mother and brother run the grocery store, which, as a part of its service, operates a van that travels around the local countryside, selling goods in towns and villages too remote to have a fully stocked grocery store of their own. It becomes Antoine's job to drive and man the van, even though his gloomy demeanor and prickly personality don't make him exactly a prime candidate for such an assignment.

Eric Guirado`s "The Grocer's Son" might just as easily have been titled "The Grocer's Prodigal Son," since the movie is a fairly transparent update of that well-known story from the Bible. Yet, lucky for us, the screenplay by Guirado and Florence Vignon fleshes out the allegory with fully realized characters and the kind of family dynamics that can only be hinted at in a brief parable. In a carefully understated performance, Nicolas Cazale plays the brooding, almost completely unsmiling Antoine, who eventually comes to learn that a life spent cut off from the people around him is no life at all.
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