| Original Score: 2.5/4
Jeunet is a big kid, smart and playful but uneasy around adult emotions, which in his new movie are reduced to glib polarities of light versus dark, love versus vengeance.
ultimately too manipulative to achieve true lasting greatness
| Original Score: 3/5
Enjoying the film depends on how much one can stand visionary carnival barker Jean-Pierre Jeunet's brand of impatiently imaginative, aggressively artificial filmmaking.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Mr. Jeunet shows no interest in animating the characters in his dollhouse world, and even Mathilde and her tears remain fundamentally decorative, as arid as the computer-assisted cinematography.
| Original Score: 2/5
...light entertainment, but offers only a shallow insight into war.
[Jeunet's] choppy, cheeky filmmaking style simply isn't suited to this remarkable wartime tale about the tenacity of love.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
There's such an excess of plot and detail that characterization is neglected--none of these characters is more than single-dimensional...
Mathilde is described in the narration as hopeful. Tautou's Mathilde, however, is more angry and dour.
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.
| Original Score: 6/10
Jeunet's reliance on magic-realist devices just falls flat, and Tautou's character -- a lame girl who plays the tuba -- is treated with the sort of condescending pity the movies haven't seen since Johnny Belinda.
There's something hollow beneath its polished surface.
Jeunet's movie is a game of great singles inside an overextended ballgame.
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.
| Original Score: 2/4
When Jeunet attempts to achieve dramatic heft, with no commensurate change in style, he falls distressingly short.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
The gifted, undisciplined Jeunet applies his trademark restless zigzagging to a story that's confoundingly complicated enough already. More fatiguing than exhilarating.
Pretty long and unengaging...
Both a whimsical love story featuring, "Amelié" star Audrey Tautou at her most adorable, and a nitty-gritty depiction of the horrors of trench warfare. It's a very bad mix.
If you take Kurosawa's Rashômon and plunk it down in a battlefield setting, the results will almost certainly be derivative and thematically hollow.
What they cut from the novel ... doesn't cause as many problems as what they add, which is often too bizarre or too whimsical for a story about death.