The baby switched at birth narrative is nothing new. It's a simple, somewhat cliched plot device for comparing the lives of two individuals with polar upbringings. But make the babies an Israeli and a Palestinian and the idea gains traction. Joseph (Jules Sitruk) is an easy-going Israeli teen whose parents discover during a routine physical before mandatory military service that he doesn't share their blood type. Their biological son, Yacine (Mehdi Dehbi), has been raised by Palestinian parents, suggesting the worst nightmare for both families. Instead, both boys begin a process of understanding and integration into the lives of their birth families, finding love where hate would normally reside. A sense of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is always bubbling under the surface, with the fathers struggling more than the mothers to accept the situation, though French director Lorraine Levy avoids being stymied by political posturing or trite sentimentality. The characters' feelings are conveyed as complex yet believable, and Levy gently riffs on the maxim that we could all get along if we just get to know each other. Levy balances the heart and head with a deft touch.
Cast: Jules Sitruk, Mehdi Dehbi, Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbé
Directors: Lorraine Levy
Running time: 110 mins
The Other Son is out now.