Film Comment - 12/01/2004
"The details become the discourse -- a constant flow of visual stimulation in place of the traditional development of plot, character, and theme."
Premiere - 12/01/2004
"[A]n epic treatment of epic themes that doesn't soap opera its audience, but at the same time provides a terrifically satisfying entertainment."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/03/2004
"[T]he counterpoint of ugliness and beauty, observed with the patience an artist might lavish upon a portrait of a beloved, is Jeunet's own invention."
New York Times - 11/26/2004
"Mr. Jeunet is in the possession of a distinctive visual style developed during his longtime collaboration with his former filmmaking partner, Marc Caro."
USA Today - 11/26/2004
"[I]t's full of surprises....Jeunet is as adept as Francois Truffaut was in employing voice-over narration -- but even better at providing counterpoint imagery to get a laugh."
Los Angeles Times - 11/26/2004
"[I]t's as charming and stylish as one could expect from this pair....All in all, Jeunet makes a pretty case for the idea that life is ruled by chaos and chance, but made meaningful and worthwhile by love."
Rolling Stone - 12/09/2004
"Just sit back and behold as Jeunet the visionary and Tautou the force of nature take you to hell and back with this epic love story. It's an emotional powerhouse."
Uncut - 02/01/2005
"[T]his is as much visual feast as quest plot: Jeunet energises every shot..."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 12/01/2004
"[T]he battle scenes depicting the horrors of war are brutally effective."
Sight and Sound - 02/01/2005
"Jeunet's film is a tour de force of style and talent..."
Wall Street Journal - 09/25/2009
“Daring mood swings -- and theme swings -- lend distinction to Jean-Pierre Jeunet's romantic epic....There's never been anything quite like it.”
This World War I mystery finds limitless beauty in the nostalgia of loss. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, whose whimsical AMELIE riveted audiences, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT also stars Audrey Tautou--the 21st century's Audrey Hepburn--in the stubbornly emotional role of a widow in denial. Here she is Mathilde, a waifish young woman with a pronounced limp from childhood polio. Living with her quirky aunt and uncle in a farmhouse by the sea, and waiting desperately for her fiance Manech (Gaspard Ulliel) to return from the war, she believes that if he were truly lost she would feel it in her heart. Thus, when the bad news arrives--Manech and five fellow soldiers were exiled to No Man's Land for shooting off their own fingers in hope of being discharged--Mathilde refuses to believe he is dead. Instead, she begins her own investigation into Manech's infantry, hiring a private detective and tracking down the wives and girlfriends of each of Manech's compatriots. Conducting countless interviews, Mathilde pieces together Manech's war stories--which are told in earthshaking flashbacks involving gruesome explosions, flying guts, and massive suffering. And yet, the all-in-this-together humanity of these awful scenes, and the heartfelt bravery with which Mathilde absorbs the details of each battle, is undeniably moving. Jodie Foster appears as Elodie, one of the widows, in a charismatic yet muted performance and with a flawless accent. However, the most intriguing of the widows is Tina Lombardi (Marion Cotillard), a thrilling dominatrix-assassin bent on avenging her lover. A timeless masterwork that raises the bar for breathtaking camerawork, vivid landscapes, and fantastical storytelling, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT is adapted from the novel by Sebastien Japriscot.
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