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A Very Long Engagement (2004)

tomatometer

78

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 144
Fresh: 113 | Rotten: 31

A well-crafted and visually arresting drama with a touch of whimsy.

76

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 9

A well-crafted and visually arresting drama with a touch of whimsy.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 64,811

My Rating

Movie Info

Audrey Tautou, who rose to international stardom with the title role in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's worldwide smash Amà (C)lie, reunites with the director for this drama, set during the darkest days of World War I and its immediate aftermath. Mathilde (Tautou) is a pretty but frail young women who was left with a bad leg after a childhood bout with polio. Mathilde lives in a small French village with her Aunt Bà (C)nà (C)dicte (Chantal Neuwirth) and Uncle Sylvain (Dominique Pinon), and is engaged to

May 24, 2005

$6.2M

Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (151) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (113) | Rotten (31) | DVD (30)

Tautou, as always, makes this an enchanting trip.

December 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's only so much candy the eye can consume before nausea sets in.

December 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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This is grand cinema.

December 22, 2004
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The comic-dramatic divide of A Very Long Engagement is difficult to traverse, much less conquer. It's simply hard to be charmed with all those corpses scattered about.

December 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Comment (1)
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Merging heart-wrenching emotions with quirky humor and splicing bloody war footage with goofy comedy, the movie mixes vastly disparate elements into a surprisingly smooth blend.

December 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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The overall assemblage is shaky, but grand.

December 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
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As in any fable, there are spires, towers and moats, and it's a spellbinding saga - a macabre dance choreographed by its romance's throbbing heart. Mathilde and Manech's love left its mark in many places, so why not the grungiest and war-torn?

November 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Filmmaker Jeunet applies his aestheticized approach (which worked well for Amelie) to a WWII melodrama to some mixed results.

July 30, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comments (2)
EmanuelLevy.Com

It's a romantic epic, an intense and gripping look at WWI, and a nifty little mystery-quest all rolled into one.

July 28, 2005 Full Review Source: DVD Clinic
DVD Clinic

a successful genre combination of a war film, period romance, detective story and black comedy

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Draxblog Movie Reviews

Jean-Pierre Jeunet represents that select group of filmmakers who treat special effects as their own art.

July 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A Very Long Engagement is every bit the fantasy, the fairy tale, that Amelie was, yet we are expected to take it seriously. I couldn't.

July 11, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

...light entertainment, but offers only a shallow insight into war.

June 28, 2005 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comment (1)
eFilmCritic.com

...equal parts whimsy and war horrors, a potentially combustible combination that succeeds largely due to Jeunet's ability to turn absurd melodrama into something magical.

April 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

As lovely to look at it as it is heart-wrenching, "A Very Long Engagement" is one of the best films of 2004.

March 20, 2005 Full Review
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

(...) Una película vistoza, llamativa, en muchos aspectos sorprendente, pero que no deja de sonar a figurita repetida, a cosa ya vista.

March 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

This is one of the finest films -- foreign or otherwise -- to come along in years.

March 8, 2005 Full Review Source: MovieWeb
MovieWeb

The look of the film is impeccable, with very realistic-looking war and street scenes.

February 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Entirely deserving of its unofficial subtitle 'Amelie Goes To War', this is a well-made, frequently enjoyable drama, although the whimsical direction often seems inappropriate for the darkness of the material.

February 19, 2005 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

one very imaginative boring movie

February 11, 2005 Full Review Source: Lawrence Journal-World
Lawrence Journal-World

It's worth seeing for the (sometimes computer-generated) visuals.

February 6, 2005 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

A harrowing account of why the French ARE NOT p*****s

February 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Snobs | Comment (1)
Film Snobs

A movie where you know at once that it will still be watched 60 or 70 years down the road, and that it will lose none of its power or charm in the intervening years

February 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The fog of war frames a sprawling romantic fable and epic mystery.

January 28, 2005
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

Grand, sad and a far more sobering experience than Amelie.

January 27, 2005
Fresno Bee

One of those rare gems that don't come along too often.

January 24, 2005 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

Audience Reviews for A Very Long Engagement

A young woman refuses to believe that her fiancee was killed in action in WWI and sets about finding out what happened to him and his comrades in their final days. The one thing you can count on from Jeunet is that you will be treated to a beautiful looking film and once again he does not disappoint. A Very Long Engagement is a visual feast with a score to match and complete with his usual ensemble cast of nicely played, likable eccentrics, this is a very difficult film to dislike. Although it does have its flaws. They mainly lie in the way that the romantic elements to the story and those concerning combat don't quite gel; I couldn't help thinking that I was actually watching two films spliced together. The investigation is also a little haphazard and unstructured and it just seemed that facts kept randomly coming to light without much in the way of narrative flow. Having said all that, it does have moments of genius and certain scenes are captivating. Audrey Tautou puts in another fine performance but Marion Cotillard virtually steals the film out from under her as a vengeful prostitute and I wish I'd seen a lot more of her character. As a whole it doesn't quite fit together and as a result lacks the emotional resonance it could have had, but the good far, far outweighs the bad.
June 1, 2012
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

An engaging and emotional film, which sweeps you into the world of its characters, and has striking cinematography. In fact the visuals are the best thing about the film. It's a visual powerhouse of a film, mixing gritty visual conventions of the war genre with scenes of a more romantic visual style, both are done brilliantly. The Story and Characters are both interesting, and injected with a healthy amount of wit and humour. The writer has managed to perfectly blend various genres, devoting enough viewing time to each. The acting is a mixture of some performance which are almost cartoonishly ridiculous, and some which create deep 3D characters. This film is a brilliant blend of sad realism and enchanting fantasy. It creates its own world and characters, while at the same time reflecting ours. A bittersweet ending just adds to this theme. Is it worth watching? Yes it is. You're guaranteed an adventure of mixed emotions, and the challenge that the main character faces will keep you engaged and stop you from getting bored.
January 24, 2012
Joel K.
Joel Kelly

Super Reviewer

Indeed a very long and tedious engagement. In fact, it didn't engage me, but on the contrary, it began to bore me after a while. Simply not my cup of tea. Recommended for public in general, though.
April 16, 2011
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

Audrey Tautou shines in a powerful, sepia-toned love story about a woman on a multi-year quest to find her fiancé in the ashes of the First World War. Though plodding by times, this is a film with a wonderful aesthetic, lots of greens and golds, much like Jeunet's other famous work, Amélie. Shot for shot, it's as beautiful as anything, and you see the story unfold from teller to teller effectively through the eyes of the heroine. A very solid movie.,, and if you think it's a chick flick, surprise! Marion Cotillard and Jodie Foster turn up, if the war scenes weren't enough for you... dudes... see this film.
January 17, 2011
danperry17

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Mathilde - Eine große Liebe (DE)
  • A Very Long Engagement (UK)
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