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Son Frere Review

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Faced with living a compromise after drastic treatment fails to rectify a rare blood disorder, Thomas decides against prolonging his hopeless struggle

★★★★

A resigned cognisance of our mortality pervades Patrice Chereau’s sombre but affecting adaptation of Philippe Besson’s novel. Faced with living a compromise after drastic treatment fails to rectify a rare blood disorder, Thomas (Todeschini) decides against prolonging his hopeless struggle. But this is much more a study of the imminence of death on those left helplessly to watch the inevitable decline of a loved one — with his embittered father (Fred Ulysse), fussing mother (Antoinette Moya), marginalised girlfriend (Nathalie Boutefeu) and long-estranged gay brother (Eric Caravaca) all coping less well than the scared, but always realistic, Thomas.

Chereau might have avoided shifting seasonal timeframes, but his direction is otherwise a model of restraint, whether it’s lingering on the compassionate professionalism of the medical staff or eavesdropping on moments of intimacy between the siblings and their nearest.

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