Two babies are born at about the same time in an Israeli hospital. One is Israeli. The other is Palestinian. They’re evacuated during a missile attack, accidentally switched and raised by each other’s families for the next 18 years.
That’s the plot line. When the mistake is discovered, how do the families react? What disturbs them more: that their son has been raised as an enemy or that he has been raised in another religion? That’s where “The Other Son” gets complicated. The two fathers and the Palestinian’s brother are primarily concerned that their birth son has been raised by the “other side.” The mothers are more concerned about the return of the son they gave birth to. The way this difference plays out is all the more fascinating because the families on both sides are decent people.
Joseph (Jules Sitruk), the Palestinian by birth, has been raised by Orith and Alon Silberg (Emmanuelle Devos and Pascal Elbe). After he enlists in the Israeli Air Force, he takes a blood test that reveals the startling news that he cannot be the son of his parents. The way this information is carefully disclosed by a hospital spokesman speaks volumes: This is a rare nation in which your DNA determines your eligibility to serve in the military, and it’s clear the hospital has a lot of explaining to do.
Yacine (Medhi Dehbi), the Israeli by birth, has been raised on the West Bank by Leila and Said Al Bezaaz (Areen Omari and Khalifa Natour). His family is far from wealthy, but he had the good fortune to be educated in Paris.
The film’s co-writer and director, Lorraine Levy, is French, which helps explain this detail and several others: that Orith Silberg was born in France, and she and all the other characters, except for Said and Yacine’s brother Bilal (Mahmood Shalabi), speak French. In a sense that helps bridge the gap.
Click on the link for thoughtful review in the Jewish Journal.com