Tiff Reviews – Mother and Son


A story about a woman who leaves her country with two of her sons in order to have a better life in France.

At the end of the 80’s, an Ivorian woman leaves her country, but life in France is more complex than she thinks. Also, even if she tries her best, she makes many mistakes ; unfortunately, the repercussion is on his sons. The story’s narrator is the youngest son, Ernest but the movie is not only about him; there are three periods. 

The first, in 1989, is more about Rose, the mother and her choice, her complicated relationship with men and also with her family. The second, perhaps towards the end of the millennium, concerns Jean and then Ernest. In the beginning, we follow the eldest son, who, since he was young, was intelligent but now that he is in high school, it is much more complicated for him, his mother is never at home and he has to manage his brother but also his studies and does not succeed, he begins to associate with immoral people and skip classes. As for Ernest, he lives his carefree way with his friends but will learn news that will change his life. In the last part, Ernest is an adult, he is a philosophy professor but we learn that he has no accurate contact with his mother and even less with his brother. Finally, the film ends with Ernest reading a letter from Jean, letter which closes the film in a very touching way.

The film may sometimes seem long, especially since it lasts two hours. Still, Léonor Serraille makes us discover a family’s universe and enter their complicated family relationship to learn oneself and accept the other.

As for my opinion on this film, sometimes I find the movie long but in a general way, it is very interesting. Especially the third part, it is maybe the shortest but I think it is the most intense : between the final scene and also a scene that marked me a lot because it dealt with racism and abuse of power, at least that’s what I felt when I saw it.

If you want to see this movie, there is no more screening schedule for the TIFF but I think you have the possibility to see this movie in a cinema in February 2023. (I will update when the day of its release is out.)

mother and son


France, 2022, Mother and Son (or Un petit frère in VO), written and directed by Léonor Serraille. 

With Annabelle Lengronne, Stéphane Bak, Kenzo Sambin, Sidy Fofana, Milan Doucansi, Audrey Kouakou, Étienne Minoungou, Jean-Christophe Folly, Thibaut Evrard and Ahmed Sylla.

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