The Well Digger's Daughter

Astrid Berges-Frisbey in The Well Digger's Daughter
Daniel Auteuil’s inauspicious but cheerfully populist directorial debut sees him waltzing headlong into Marcel Pagnol’s Provence of the 1940s with this sun-bleached tale of salty, lionised bumpkins, dastardly shop owners, sexually inexperienced daughters and fighter pilots whose morals are as loose as their flies. Looking as if the negative has been dipped in liquid neon to get brightness levels just below the point where sunglasses would be a medical must, Auteuil’s unembellished depiction of the French countryside hardly demonstrates a sharp eye for landscapes. And, in dramatic terms, envelope-pushing this is not, especially for someone who has collaborated with Michael Haneke. Yet there’s a broad appeal to be gleaned from its antiquated charm, modest focus and a clutch of ripe, old-school character turns, especially from Auteuil in the lead and French stalwarts Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Sabine Azéma. Suffice to say, fans of ‘Jean de Florette’ and ‘Manon des Sources’ will be in hog heaven with this one.

Release details

Release date: Friday December 9 2011
Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Daniel Auteuil
Screenwriter: Kad Merad, Daniel Auteuil
Cast: Nicolas Duvauchelle
Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Sabine Azéma
Daniel Auteuil

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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david glowacki

enjoyed this film..Blazing hot sunshine with sultry winds rustling the leaves on the trees..It show how superior is the French landscape compared to our drizzley scenery. The film falls away in the second half after a promising start..The story is centred on a beautiful winsome,impoverished girl whose heart is broken by the local wealthy son...It oozes tenderness and softness amount the incredible summers landscape. However it descends into banality in the second half,because the plot leaves behind the tender girl and centres on her father (Auteil) He overdoes it and hams it up,so that it transfers into a part farce part caricature of itself. It is old fashioned but never too sentimental,just tender..Worth seeing just for the vivid beauty of the summer countryside,and the natural good looks of the female lead.Probably not for the average Time Out reader