#91: The Son (Dardenne Brothers, 2002)
This little gem from the Dardenne's knocked me flat when I saw it. It's funny - I was just telling my girlfriend about needing to put up this post, and even describing the movie to her gave me chills. I'm convinced that you only need to see it once, and then you will never forget it. It's truly a stunning and emotionally profound experience unlike any other. And it tests you. It tests your capacity for empathy and the depth of your forgiveness. Like the rest of the Dardenne's remarkable oeuvre of moral tales, it confronts you with discomfort and proposes a dilemma to you. The dilemma is often one that is seemingly very simple plot-wise, but that has moral and spiritual ramifications that, once overcome, will forever change the course of its characters' lives - maybe even their souls. The dilemma of THE SON is perhaps the most discomfiting that the Dardenne's have ever concocted. And without given anything away for those who haven't seen it, how this dilemma is resolved provides their most astounding resolution. THE SON tests greatly, but it also rewards infinitely. The finale is as profound a lesson in grace as any I can recall in movies.
Stats: Only Dardenne Bros movie on here, but a few of their others would likely crack my theoretical 200-101 list. They might be my favorite working filmmakers.