A Very Long Engagement Reviews
July 29, 2008
I have seen it again, and I have got amazed again by this wonderful story. Not only a thrilling testimony about the WWI, based on a consistent book; not only Jean Pierre Jeunet doing it perfectly again, with those yellow and brown filters, and his marvelous secondary characters and little details that were so brightful also en Amelie; not only Jodie Foster making such a delightful role; even more (now I realize) the two more on-fashion actresses of France, acting together, with also a great work from Ulliel. In summary, a film you must not loose by any circumstance.
November 24, 2014
It has the customary touches of a Jeunet film, and it is my favorite of his works. The shots are gorgeous, the performances match the tone of the imagery perfectly, the soundtrack is glorious, and the storytelling takes a very simple story of enduring love and tells it with an incredible invention.
January 4, 2013
The love is frighteningly beautiful, and the war is beautifully frightening. But the movie lasts only 2 hours of your life. You beg for a deeper meaning, but there is little. Maybe to not give up, or to believe, or to have hope? But then, for many characters in the film, there isn't those at all.
I'll learn my lessons elsewhere, then.
July 11, 2014
In the likely scenario that people in the 1st world never have to worry about war separating them from the ones they love again, I will be eternally grateful.
July 6, 2014
A powerful and emotional war drama from French auteur Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Audrey Tautou leads us through an engaging and well-crafted story which sweeps us into the world of its characters, whom are established and well developed as the story progresses. The film itself is visually arresting with stunning cinematography. It was actually Bruno Delbonnel's visuals that acted as one of the man aspects that allured my interest in the film, it's a visual powerhouse blending the gritty conventions of war with scenes of a more romantic and dramatic style. A harrowing and emotional account of World War I from the perspective of French soldiers and civilians.
June 7, 2014
Au-delà du personnage principal extrêmement irritant et du filtre sépia constant et fatigant, Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles pêche surtout par sa structure, suites de témoignages très courts (à la différence de Rashômon, par exemple) comico-dramatique, qui provoquent des ruptures de ton assez problématiques et des passages qui avaient plutôt leur place dans Amélie Poulain (cette propension de Jeunet à se souvenir des "belles" choses du passé devient répétitive). Pour une Chantal Neuwirth ou un Dominique Pinon, un Ticky Holgado excellents, il faut aussi subir Marion Cotillard, Dominique Bettenfeld ou Gaspard Ulliel. Sur deux heures et quart, ça commence à faire très long surtout quand les scènes de guerre font aussi toc. Le style de Jean-Pierre Jeunet ne se prêtait peut-être pas à ce récit. Il en reste que certaines séquences sont particulièrement réussies.
April 11, 2014
The arrangement of the narration annoyed me. But this picture had it's every moment that unforgettably "satisfying"
January 19, 2014
A story of undying love.
December 3, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
November 27, 2013
this is a love base on the true story and the man have to go war.
March 2, 2012
A very Long Engagement is a beautiful and bitter-sweet movie exposing the brutality and the beauty of life. Intertwining passionate scenes of madness and cruelty, with hope and love, this movie sends the audience on a roller-coaster of emotions and thoughts; at what point does hope meet shear stubbornness? The cast is perfect, the music is wonderful and the direction of the film is classic french. The story itself seems a little chopped and dismantled, but the climax of the film places a nice gentle seal on the disfigured piece. This film is cute in its representation of the fight for lost love.
July 13, 2013
Just perfect, beautiful fotografy, nice Audrey
April 17, 2012
:\ did nothing for me.
|Ker Malkin G||
June 5, 2013
This film simply shows a little spark of hope could do a far greater deal than what it's worth. Just great.
May 27, 2013
'A' for effort and uniqueness. Good acting. A mildly charming romantic flick.
The piece-meal approach to the storytelling makes it difficult to get a grasp on the characters and the quickly developing plot - so the viewer isn't able to completely get lost in the storytelling.
|Cameron W. Johnson||
May 18, 2013
It's the director of "Alien Resurrection" teaming up with the guy who would go on to play a young Hannibal Lecter, so this is bound to be either one hardcore thriller or, you know, actually tolerable. Granted, I thought "Hannibal Rising" was alright, but when it comes to "Alien Resurrection", sorry, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but I'm not forgetting that, as surely as I'm not forgetting Audrey Tautou for her not so fashionable debut to American films. "The Da Vinci Code" was painfully long enough, so if this affair is going to be very long for Tatou's tastes, then it better be good. Well, sure enough, it's certainly much better than "The Da Vinci Code", and if you for some reason think that placing this arty French much further ahead than a commercial American film makes me sound a bit snooty, come on, the only other film that I've seen with the apparently famous Audrey Tatou is her only American one, so I'm one of those handful of critics who like to keep things domestic, unless of course the domestic film stinks. After seeing this film with "The Da Vinci Code" and Jeunet's only American film in my head, I guess it's safe to say that this film proves that it's nice to watch the occasional good foreign flick, or at least that Jodie Foster is still hunting Hannibal Lecter, because this film also stars Gaspard Ulliel, and features a small appearance by Foster, ostensibly intending to either apprehend Lecter or to show that her French accent is decidedly better than her southern accent. Man, speaking of very long engagements, this opener is starting to wander out of entertainment value, kind of like this film does at times. No, the film entertains just fine, and certainly rewards by the end, yet the fact of the matter is that not all goes terribly smoothly in this affair.
You know, as much as they call it very long, this engagement doesn't really seem long enough, or at least it doesn't at times, as the film will spend more than a few occasions glossing over exposition, typically through narrated montages of happenings that get kind of repetitious after a while, before making a sudden slow-down that is generally comfortably paced, but all too often descends into a borderline limpness that may never be dull, per se, but certainly bland things up. The film is adequately entertaining, like I said earlier, but when it slow down, it throws you off, and not just because slow spells bookend a bit of unevenness in pacing, whose inconsistency still isn't as awkward as the occasions of inconsistency within tone. With this film, I have now only seen two Jean-Pierre Jeunet films, so I can only assume that he does this often, but one of the things that I absolutely hated the most about the disaster that was "Alien Resurrection" was it's being so actively over-the-top in its embrassingly unfitting and fall-flat tongue-in-cheek attitude, and while such cornball whimsy isn't as grating in this film as it could have been, it's much more prevalent than it should be, tainting conceptually consistently serious subject matter with many a moment of silliness that doesn't fit and, more often than not, doesn't even hit by its own right, serving only to throw off dramatic momentum that is hurt enough by cheesiness' also finding its way into the drama at times. I feared that French romantic dramatastic histrionics would work its way into this affair at points, and sure enough, not all is completely genuine in this film's dramatic depth, which is generally effective, but sometimes takes on distancing melodrama that would be easier to forgive if it wasn't for its familiarity. The film is kind of formulaic, and I guess there's no way around that, because subject matter of this type, while worthy, has been too done to death for all that much uniqueness to take place, no matter how much this film tries, yet conventionalism leaves you to step back and meditate upon this film's handful of distinguishing factors, including the not so flattering ones, from uneven areas to overambition that leave the final product to fall short of its potential. Of course, as shaky as this affair is, you remain engaged through and through (Pun oh so very much intended), unable to ignore shortcomings, but even less able to ignore strengths, even when it comes to production value.
Again, I haven't seen too much from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but what handful I have seen of Jeunet's tastes show me that the man knows production value, as this film further proves through intricate production designs by Aline Bonetto that bring early 20th century Europe, inside and outside of the warzone, to lush life that, when accompanied by Madeline Fontaine's fine costume designs, sell you on the era, while the soul of this film owes a large part of its being so effectively sold at times to Angelo Badalamenti's score, which is formuliac, but powerful, with a rich range that dances between hauntingly deep to wonderfully sweeping, but nevertheless keeps consistent in loveliness. The film's musical artistry is outstanding, both by its own right and as a compliment to the film's tasteful heart, but at the end of the day, it's the film's visual artistry that truly stands out, as the great Bruno Delbonnel delivers on cinematography that is not only framed in a fashion that gives you a fine feel for both the sweep and intimacy of this mini-epic, but a highly distinct greenish orange, almost gold color palette whose lushness has to be seen in order to be believed, gracing every shot with profound, painting-like spectacle that takes your breath away time and again, and is among the things most worthy of appreciation in the final product. Boasting richly thoughtful production value, arrestingly tasteful musical and photographic value, and, yes, even exceptional technical value that puts anything from strong visual effects to thumping sound design to immersively good use, particularly during the typically tense war sequences, this film is nothing if not well-crafted when it comes to aesthetics, and accels exceedingly stylistically, though not so much so that the final product forgets its substance. Sure, whether it is because other standard differences or whatever, the film's style is stronger than its storytelling, but there's no ignoring the many moments in which Jean-Pierre Jeunet settles down all of the silliness and unevenness to deliver on effective resonance to break up a consistently fair degree of inspiration that gives you a compellingly decent feel for the value within this worthy, if formulaic story concept. The film is rarely, if ever truly movingly powerful, but where Jeunet could have overstepped pacing issues, dramatic shortcomings or simply awkward ambition, to the point of sparking underwhelmingness, he finds himself with enough control of resonance to engross more often than not, with no light help from a cast that is just as inspired. The acting isn't exactly killer on the whole, but most everyone has his or her time to shine, whether it be such supporting players as the particularly effective Marion Cotillard as a vengeful woman, or leading lady Audrey Tautou, whose subtly human and engagingly convincing portrayal of a woman seeking out the lost love of her life whose fate is in question. I wish I could say that the final product is, on the whole, as strong as it could have been, or at least as strong as it wants to be, but no matter how much this ambitious effort slips up, it accels enough, both stylistically and dramatically, to thoroughly engage, occasionally move and ultimately reward.
To end this engagement, pacing unevenness creates slightly slapdashed moments and blad slow spells, while tonal unevenness creates moments of whimsy silliness that doesn't work, joining histrionics and conventionalism in shaking the dramatic foundation that is left too tattered to be as firm as it could have been, but not so tattered that exceptional production value, powerful score work, stunning cinematography and a compelling story - brought to life by Jean-Pierre Jeunet's sometimes very effective direction and a collection of inspired performances - are obscured as the engaging strengths that go into making "A Very Long Engagement" a flawed, but ultimately rewarding drama.
3/5 - Good
May 8, 2013
A Very Long Engagement is the follow-up film to Amélie for French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Reuniting him with Amélie star Audrey Tautou, he has here crafted a mystery film centered around the leftovers of the First World War. Tautou plays Mathilde, a twenty-year-old polio sufferer who was engaged to a man named Manech (Gaspard Ulliel). Manech tried to get out of the war via self-mutilation -- along with four other soldiers, who attempted the same thing -- and was condemned to death. He is presumed dead.
Mathilde is unconvinced, and makes it her mission to get to the bottom of it. She hires a private investigator, she heads all around the country, and has this sole desire. She uncovers much more than she expects, however, and discovers the fate not only of her fiancé, but of the other soldiers, and the system which was used to deal with dissenting soldiers from the army. Her determination in this case is something to be admired, and it results in quite the emotional journey because of this.
If A Very Long Engagement wasn't based around the war, it would easily be on the same level as Amélie, at least in terms of tone. Audrey Tautou is such a pleasant figure to watch on-screen, that even when dark events are being told, we can't help but smile. Her quest, like the one in the earlier film, is one that she takes in good faith. There's nothing to be lost, really, as she'd already lived a couple of years without Manech, so even if she discovers that he did, in fact, die in the war, nothing would have changed. It's because of this that you don't think there's much of a risk to her quest.
There is, however, which comes in the form of a prostitute-turned-assassin named Tina (Marion Cotillard), who doesn't get a lot of explanation but whose scenes indicate that Jeunet could direct a thriller or a horror film with great success. The means by which she disposes of targets are ingenious, and they add the additional darkness, and sense of danger, that would be otherwise missing. She has a reason for existing, but not much of it is revealed; she's a mystery, and that is how she should stay.
For the most part, this is a film in which the main character has to solve a mystery. It's not a murder, like it so often is, but there is a case to be figured out nonetheless. Some clues lead deeper, while some provide red herrings. The early scenes don't benefit from this form of storytelling, but after A Very Long Engagement gets going, it's quite engaging and effective. The flashbacks woven in don't help matters, especially because what they reveal has often already been implied or explained.
It's still a sweet, interesting little movie. Okay, "little" isn't exactly fair, as it takes place over a relatively long time frame and in multiple locations. It goes from a gritty portrayal of war to an almost too-good-to-be-true "detective" film, each of which is successful enough. Put together, and juxtaposing the awfulness of war with Audrey Tautou certainly brings the former's point across, there is an enjoyable movie left for the audience.
There is some beautiful filmmaking at work with A Very Long Engagement. The camera does not focus squarely on the face of Tautou, like it did in Amélie. Here, we get sweeping shots of Paris, and of the war. Paris, shot in the best possible light and made to be a picturesque place, while the trenches of the war are suitably filthy and absolutely disgusting. You get the horrors of war and the joy of France all in one movie. How often do you get that? I suppose that question depends on your knowledge of French cinema, but if you're 99% of the potential audience, your answer will be "Not very often, and I would like it more so I'm going to watch this movie." Isn't it great when decisions are made for you?
The title might be off-putting. The film does run for over two hours -- although just, clocking in at 133 minutes -- but it never feels long. There is always something interesting going on, either in the determination of its main character, the mystery she's trying to solve, or the sweet romance driving her actions.
Audrey Tautou is not as sweet as she was in Amélie. She isn't a pixie here; her character is more subdued, as is required. This makes her no less captivating, but if you're expecting a pseudo-sequel in a similar vein to Jeunet's previous film, you're not going to get one. The rest of the cast is strong, too, although they do not leave the impression that Tautou can. There's even one stunt casting here, as Jodie Foster turns up for seemingly no reason, and draws attention to herself by doing so. You instantly recognize that it's Foster, and you're taken out of the film.
A Very Long Engagement is an enjoyable mystery-romance that has one of the most likable leading actors working today, an engaging and important story, and some gorgeous cinematography. It's too slow at the beginning, and it doesn't completely add up, but it's a very enjoyable movie, one that is effective at doing all it aims to do. It's not Amélie 2, aiming for a very different tone, but it's still a very good movie by a talented director, and I think it's worth a watch.
April 9, 2013
A charming if overlong film from the folks behind Amelie, it never quite touched me as much as that film, but it holds up pretty well on the re-watch. Gorgeous visuals.
Worth a rental.
December 15, 2012
Superb. An excellently balanced film with something to satisfy the guts and glory loving male, his long suffering girlfriend and the embarrassingly intellectual third wheel they brought along (and not necessarily in that order). Touching, visually brilliant, clever and humourous.
February 24, 2013
I tried to watch this, but the copy I had was all scratched up. What I saw was good though!