Blood may be thicker than water, but wine is thicker than both. I’m surprised that the tyrannical pater familias and Bordeaux wine legend Paul de Marseul (the great Niels Arestrup) didn’t come up with a line like that, since the old troll was so prone to pedantic, oenological bon mots. Be that as it may, Gilles Legrand’s draggy melodrama about miserable characters who persist in their folly and never wise up is strictly vin ordinaire.
With a better treatment, this might have had the makings of an updated Elizabethan tragedy. Paul, an aging king of sorts, finds his milksop son an inadequate heir to the throne. Paul’s concerns for the future of the vineyard grow more urgent when his partner comes down with terminal cancer. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Peter Keough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.