“All This I Will Give To You” – TV series review – We Are Movie Geeks


“All This I Will Give To You” – TV series review

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Louise Monot (Catherine) and Aurélien Wiik (Joffrey) in “All This I Will Give To You.” Courtesy of MHzChoice

“All This I Will Give To You” (“Tout cela je te le donnerai”) is a suspenseful, if somewhat soapy, mystery/drama set around a lavish French vineyard and estate. The French TV miniseries opens with a fatal car crash on a rural road. Switch to Paris, where successful novelist Manuel Ortega (David Kammenos) is struggling to finish his latest overdue novel. He’s soon awakened by gendarmes informing him that his husband of six years had a fatal accident in rural France. Manuel is baffled because his mate, Aymeric (Alexis Loret) was supposedly on a business trip to Brussels.

We soon learn that Aymeric is the son of a wealthy marquis who’d inherited the title and responsibility for running the family business and properties, of which Manuel knew nothing. We shortly understand why.Aymeric’s family is quite a loathsome lot. Snobbish, bigoted in multiple dimensions and devoid of normal human values or emotions. The icy matriarch (Nicole Calfan) would make Machiavelli and most of the Borgias shiver. His late father and the rest were so homophobic that Aymeric could never even let them know he was gay, much less married. He was also trying to shield Manuel from the bile that would assail him if they knew about the couple.

Manuel’s arrival and announcement of their relationship is greeted with anger and denial from most –especially the mother and younger brother Joffrey (Aurelien Wiik), who was poised to take the reins from the late Aymeric. Surprise! Aymeric’s will left the entire estate to Manuel! Bigger surprise that Manuel is so shocked that he knew nothing of his husband’s roots and situation, and disgusted by the family that greets him with such contempt, that he immediately decides to renounce it all. But Aymeric anticipated that, including directives that forced him to take the job for at least three months.

Aymeric’s crash seemed suspicious but the family, which ruled the town like they owned it, quickly ordered the cops to stop their inquiries before they’d barely begun, and dismiss the case as an accident. One grizzled detective (Bruno Solo), on the verge of retiring, resents the hell out of their arrogant preemption,and starts his own private investigation, at first distrusted by Manuel but ultimately working with him.

Through six episodes, we learn more and more sordid details of Aymeric’s and the family’s past, including other questionable deaths before and during the course of these events. There are enough secrets and subplots to run a full season of daytime drama as the pieces of the puzzle slowly come together. Manuel’s mind is buffeted by what he learns, sometimes showing Aymeric as the good guy he’d loved, and others indicating a dark side he’d never imagined possible within in his partner.

The pace and minimal amount of action might have grown tedious but for two factors: the scripts from a quartet of writers contain a lot of meat on their bones in terms of individual character arcs and social issues along with the suspense. The other is that the Marquise and Joffrey are so contemptible that I salivated over their likely come-uppance, rooting for their fate to be as painful and humiliating as the medium would allow. This Joffrey makes the obnoxious young king from “Game of Thrones” seem like a nice, normal kid. Maybe there’s a lesson in what NOT to name your sons.

Director Nicolas Guicheteau makes fine use of the lavish mansion, grounds and pastoral countryside,while eliciting excellent performances from a large, diverse cast. He also blends in the essential flashbacks skillfully for our understanding and plot advancement. We get to know a lot about many of the locals besides the principals. This is slower sledding than the typical European mystery, but satisfying in content and worth considering.

“All This I Will Give To You,” mostly in French with English subtitles, streams on MHzChoice starting May 14.

RATING: 3 out of 4 stars

David Kammenos as Manuel Ortigosa in “All This I Give To You.” Courtesy of MHzChoice