A Very Long Engagement Reviews
Lastly, JODIE FOSTER?! For reals?! Remember when I said about few French actors? I wasn't kidding. Not that I minded, but French?!
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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]