A Very Long Engagement Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 4, 2007
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.
Joel K.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
March 31, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2010
My first Gaspard Ulliel film! Yay! Same director and principle as Amelie as well as some other shared actors. French actors must be small in number. Anyway I was completely charmed with the romance presented. I got a little confused with all of the story lines, but then read this is from a book? Which explains it all. And I think it had some lagging points. Still, beautifully shot and told. And it even tugged a bit on my cold heart strings.
Lastly, JODIE FOSTER?! For reals?! Remember when I said about few French actors? I wasn't kidding. Not that I minded, but French?!
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2010
World War I is the setting for this genre-busting story in which a French woman, Mathilde (played by beauty Audrey Tautou) refuses to believe that her soldier fiance was executed during combat after purposely injuring himself in an attempt to be sent far away from the front line. Her subsequent investigation is mixed with flashbacks in an intense story that melts familiar elements of war, romance, and mystery films into something fresh, sensual, and stunning.
Quaint towns, fields, beaches and houses lend a beautiful touch to the story of a love that will not die whilst Tautou delivers a spellbinding performance in a child-like heroine with a will of steel. I was surprised Jodie Foster appeared as a supporting role in this French film at the first time as well as she did the French thing well.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2006
It starts with the ugliness of war, in the trenches of the first world war. The creators of "Amelie" tell the story of Mathilde, whose fiancee got lost in the chaos of war and her relentless search for informations about his fate. That requires some concentration from the side of the audience, which has to deal with a lot of names and faces, but is still very well done. The beautifully shot French film combines the realistic horrors of a war movie with a detective story and love drama and still manages to be very convincing in each of these aspects as we gradually learn about the real story of the five court-martialed soldiers kicked into no man's land between French and German trenches. The biggest surprise, besides how well this combination works, is Jodie Foster's small role as soldier widow. Just like in "Amelie" Audrey Tautou is a little odd but quite charming in her efforts to solve the mystery, not giving up hope for her love still being alive. Not much more should be spoiled about this film. which is easily one of the best that ever came from its country of origin.
Super Reviewer
November 7, 2006
It was alright.
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2006
Mathilde: [peeling an apple] If I don't break the peel, Manech is alive.

Audrey Tautou stars in another beautifully made film by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The story mixes romance, mystery, and war, and looks absolutely wonderful throughout, due to Jeunet's eye for lovingly detailing his sets and his approach to special effects.

The story is set around WWI. Two lovers are separated. One is Tautou as Mathilde, a nice enough girl who has a crippled leg due to polio. The other is her fiance, Manech, who was shipped out to war in the trenches. Along with four others, Manech had himself shot in the hand in an effort to be shipped back home, but the plan has backfired, and the men have been sentenced to survive in no man's land.

While many believe all of the men punished this way died, Mathilde finds evidence suggesting the possibility that some made it out alive.

What follows is Mathilde's attempts to track down the entire story of what happened to the punished men. During her search, she encounters a number of characters, including a private investigator who wants to help her, and some of the lovers of the punished men.

Tina Lombardi: I regret nothing. Except my hair.

Along with viewing the film from Mathilde's perspective, there are numerous flashbacks from different points of view, providing us more and more information about what happened in total.

As mentioned, the whole film, including the war scenes, are beautifully done. Jeunet has a particular style which works wonderfully for all of his movies. Its kind of like watching a fairy tale come to life. It shows the kind of love he has for making movies, working not to throw emotions at an audience, but draw them in through the way he handles his cinematography.

I also felt drawn in by the mystery aspect of this story. I really wanted to find out what happened to these characters, and its very neat to see the various events occur, which work to resolve each one.

Overall I very much enjoyed watching the film, as it looks great, and the story was engaging enough as well. And of course Tautou is always a delight to see.

[The mail man skids in on his bike, on the gravel road]
Sylvain: Every time you do that I have to pick pieces of gravel out of the grass.
The Postman: Sir, whenever I see a gravel road, I feel I need to enter with style.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2008
UN LONG DIMANCHE DE FIANÇAILLES is a dream. One of the most (visually) beautiful films I've ever seen; exquisite cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel. This movie is very similar to "Amelie", and while the style works with AMELIE, it doesn't quite work with this one. Sometimes you doubt the scene you're watching is meant to be serious or not. That's the main flaw of this war/romance movie, directed by the brilliant Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Audrey Tautou is wonderful. Jodie Foster, Marion Cotillard, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Albert Dupontel, Jérôme Kircher, and Dominique Pinon are a very good supporting cast.
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2008
Walter, aloha e and Happy Tuesday. You know me, Walter. You know that things like captions will never throw me off -- I will gladly read captions until doomsday -- (or until the two cows I have came home -- if I lived in a democracy -- oh, wait, I do live in a democracy -- despite the evil and stupid blundering of GWB and his gang -- where are my two cows?) for a good movie. True, Walter, I admit it, I only gave this two tries -- not the usual three. But I gotta add it to our list. Un-freakin'-bearable . . . Alas, Audrey, and auwe . . . On the up side, no project with this much work put into it actually deserves a half star . . . right . . . ? Walter, don't count this one for our 12/31 goal total. I certainly won't : (
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2007
Jeunet proves one again that he'll keep making better looking films than just about anyone else in the business.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2008
Love is a powerful emotion, and so is hope. You tend to cling onto the impossible sometimes, with hope, when all around you seems to be falling into despair.

And that's what the premise of this french movie is. It's not really a romantic movie per se (so guys, you might want to think twice about bringing your date for this). It's essentially a movie about hope, about not giving up looking for the one you love, against a backdrop of a horrific war (yes, blood, gore and limbs all included, right from the start).

Set in France just after WWI, this movie at times resemble Courage Under Fire, where the protagonist, played by Audrey Tautou, hunts for the truth behind what happened to her fiancé, who was part of 5 condemned men sent to the "No Man's Land" in front of enemy trenches during WWI.

Unravelling official secrets, cover ups, seeking survivors, listening to various interpretations of what happened during those fateful days, chancing upon others with more vengeful intentions, we journey from place to place with Audrey, never giving up hope, yet when faced with irrefutable damning evidence, we ask, should we stop, or should we still continue? We're seeking closure. Do we know when to stop? Do we know it's indeed closure? Do we need to see, or are we able to face up to, the truth? I appreciate French movies for certain reasons. The language, for one, I always admire - it's beautiful. And so is the cinematography, be it lush fields, or bombarded lands. Audrey Tautou doesn't carry the whole movie on her lithe shoulders, as the supporting cast of many brings many quirky, interesting characters to life.

Oh yes, watch out for Jodie Foster too, thought the actress looked familiar, only managed to confirm it when the credits rolled.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2007
Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Dominique Pinon, Gaspard Ulliel, Jodie Foster.

From the genius that bought us Amelie, although it somehow doesn't quite feel as accomplished as Amelie, the film is a film of epic proportions.

Once again the film pays a lot of attention to detail in the characters lives, which always add a dash a humour to his films. The film focuses on a women named Mathilde, just hitting her 20's and before the war she found young love, soon after, her love Manech is sent off to war and soon after, Mathilde receives word that her love might be dead. That is the basic concept, we are introduced to a group of characters throughout the film and it plays like a mystery, finding out new connections with each character and there connection with Menech. The film balances the horror of war and the beauty of love extremely well, the direction is absolutely amazing here from Jean-Pierre-Jeunet, a visionary who uses some amazing camera angles and range. The cinematography is breathtaking, as is the costumes and set design. Audrey Tautou is amazing once again in this film with a surprise guest appearance from Jodie Foster who stole every scene she was in.

The one thing that was a bit of a letdown was the ending, although predictable, it didn't quite pack the emotion punch it needed to be a masterpiece, but it is still a surprising film of epic proportions.
Super Reviewer
½ May 16, 2007
An engaging tale that simultaneously reveals the beauty of life whilst graphically portraying the ugliness of war. A trademark Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie that is reminiscent in some ways to The English Patient.
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2007
slightly confusing storyline (so many characters, all with similar names, all french!) but i think it made its main point pretty clear. beautiful movie.
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2007
A very good, almost classical, tale of romance set after World War I - which follows a young woman who goes to great lengths to discover the fate of her fiance, who fought in the war and whose outcome is uncertain. There are a lot of similarities between this film and Amelie - but both are directed by the very talented Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and both star the lovely and charming (and also very talented) Audrey Tautou. Also, the visual and cinematographic style isn't very far removed from Amelie - and initially I thought this to be a detractor from the movie, but around halfway through the movie I didn't think that way anymore, and began to get totally absorbed in the film. There are some very unique things about this film. For one thing it tells a very epic and wonderful tale of romance, and also of war - but it still contains the trademark offbeat humor of Jeunet, it isn't a completely sombre, serious piece by any means, and that really works in its favor. Also the fact that it involves World War I - it isn't often these days that you see a movie involved the first World War, as the much more romanticized WW2 is a more common subject for filmmakers. Another cool thing about the film, though it's a quirky tale of romance, the war scenes were actually very well done and realistic, which shows the director's attention to detail. In the end, it's a very good film packed with style and, like Amelie, a lot of very unique and fun characters, and a very strong and beautiful romance - definitely worth your time.
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2005
[font=Century Gothic][color=darkolivegreen] "A Very Long Engagement" is a movie that starts out with five soldiers who are sentenced to die in No Man's Land in World War I France in 1917 for self-mutilation. One of their fiancees never gives up hope that her man might have survived. "A Very Long Engagement" is nowhere in the league of classic anti-war movies such as "Paths of Glory"(1957) and "Life and Nothing But"(1989) but it is also quite a bit more competent than the similarly themed "Cold Mountain". It levels the horrors of war with Jean-Pierre Jeunet's patented brand of whimsy and a sense of humor. The most memorable thing about this film is its amazing visual imagery.[/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#556b2f] (Jean-Pierre Jeunet's previous film, Amelie, also starring Audrey Tautou, had been beated out for a Best Foreign Film Oscar by a movie called "No Man's Land".)[/color][/font]
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