The Grocer's Son

Antoine (Cazalé) is a restless 30-year-old who left the rural provinces for Paris a decade ago. His father (Duval), a grocer who sells goods out of a van to elderly locals, has suffered a heart attack. After a guilt trip courtesy of Mom, Antoine comes home to take care of the business while Pops convalesces, despite the fact that the wayward son doesn’t know squat about selling cheese to seniors. His gorgeous neighbor (Hesme) tags along on the trip. So let’s recap, shall we? There’s a city-versus-country culture clash, a black sheep reluctantly returning to the fold, colorfully eccentric geriatrics, some life lessons to be learned and a potential romantic interest. Does any of this sound familiar?

Given that Eric Guirado’s drama sticks to a predictable arc, it’s less the tale that matters than the telling. Thankfully, the journalist-turned-filmmaker’s eye for detail and patient pacing, as well as Cazalé and Hesme’s pleasantly loose performances, lift this above the risible level of something like A Good Year. The unhurried way Guirado steers viewers to the inevitable wrap-ups almost makes you forget the conservative nature of his narrative, in which all wounds are healed by bucolic backdrops and simple homespun wisdom. Merci beaucoup for the tip.

Release details

Rated: NR
Release date: Friday June 6 2008
Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Eric Guirado
Screenwriter: Eric Guirado, Florence Vignon
Cast: Nicolas Cazalé
Clotilde Hesme
Daniel Duval
Jeanne Goupil