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October 22, 2012

The Other Son

The Other SonViewing the Palestine-Israeli conflict through a switched-at-birth plot device proves compelling, though not entirely worth the price of admission in director Lorraine Levy’s uncoordinated melodrama. Weighing ever so slightly on the side of the Palestinians' plight, the filmmakers lay the narrative groundwork around the families of two young adult boys switched as babies during a battle that rocked the hospital where they were born. Emmanuelle Devos is exceptional as Orith Silberg, the French-born mother of Joseph (Jules Sitruk). Joseph’s turn to follow in his Israeli military father Alon’s (Pascal Elbe) footsteps, calls for a blood test that delivers the film’s inciting evidence. Formerly proud of his presumed Jewish heritage, Joseph suffers an identity crisis after his Rabbi deems him no longer Jewish.

Yacine Al Bezaaz (Mehdi Dehbi) — Alon’s and Orith’s biological son — has been studying medicine in Paris before returning on vacation in Palestine to discover his part in the confusion endured by his parents and brother.

Although the ensemble performances are sound, the film’s structure is unsteady. A failure in plot development results in a forced third-act climax that rushes the story to its artificial conclusion. “The Other Son” is a well-meaning drama that only begins to scratch the surface of a volatile conflict that claims prisoners and causalities while resolving little.

Rated PG-13. 105 mins. (C+) (Two Stars - out of five/no halves)

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