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Bluebeard (2010)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 697

My Rating

Movie Info

Controversial filmmaker Catherine Breillat puts a new spin on an ancient story in this multileveled drama. In France in the mid-'50s, Catherine (Marilou Lopes-Benites) enjoys toying with her older sister, Marie-Anne (Lola Giovannetti), by reading her the story of the murderous and oft-married Bluebeard, embellishing the story with plenty of gore and scaring the girl out of her wits. As Catherine rereads the story, we're taken back to the year 1697, as Lord Bluebeard (Dominique Thomas) prepares

Jun 22, 2010

Strand Releasing

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March 25, 2010:
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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (8) | DVD (2)

Breillat has produced her funniest and most immediately pleasurable film to date.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A simple device, the parallel structure freshens and enlarges the familiar story precisely because Breillat doesn't put too much weight on it.

May 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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Those looking for a re-interpretation of a classic fairytale will certainly find it in Bluebeard. They just won't find a very good one.

April 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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A movie that has all the when-will-he-draw-the-scimitar suspense of Friday the 13th as made by Robert Bresson. In other words, none at all.

March 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All fairy tales have morals and the one in Ms. Breillat's Bluebeard is brutal, suitably bloody and, like all good retellings, both similar to and different from earlier iterations.

March 26, 2010
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bluebeard revisits themes often found in Breillat's films -- sibling rivalry, pedophilia, gender conflict -- but it remains fresh and new.

March 26, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Breillat's ideas owes much to Angela Carter, yet The Bloody Chamber author would surely be depressed by the lack of dynamism on display.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Murky and cold, this retelling of the fairy tale has an effectively grim tone that cleverly plays with our expectations while examining some provocative themes. But it's not very engaging.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Catherine Breillat's move from arthouse provocations to ponderous period dramas continues with this austere, slyly experimental adaptation of Charles Perrault's grisly classic.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

While it contains more layers than a slab of Viennetta, this might actually be Breillat's most accessible film to date. Just don't expect anyone to live happily ever after.

July 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4

It's a playful approach, but Breillat's flat visual style and the deliberately stiff and austere performances she gets from her actors make this more of a chore than it should be.

July 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Complex, comic and discomfiting. So, vintage Breillat...

July 16, 2010
Little White Lies

Breillat's chamber-piece of oblique eroticism is beautifully designed and acted but rendered slightly unsatisfying by a pointless second level of narrative reality.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian

Taking itself too seriously is just the first of many grave offences committed by the wretched Bluebeard.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

It's a surreal little film with an intriguing Freudian subtext and a haunting blend of magic and gritty realism.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

What's most surprising about this adaptation is how free of violence it is: rather than embrace its potential for serial-killer bloodlust, [Breillat] has produced a witty, graceful and unusually tender reading of the story.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Catherine Breillat delivers a new spin on an old tale that doesn't underestimate the female spirit.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

We end with a head on a platter. But the head is oddly bloodless, like the whole film.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

The disconcerting saga springs two particularly nasty surprises, even if the "modern" segment doesn't quite work.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Breillat's simplistic, spare approach pays dividends, particularly harnessed to sympathetic playing from the two girls, particularly Creton.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Breillat directs the Bluebeard story line with a deliberate flatness, like a literal retelling, where all the actors appear stiff

July 11, 2010 Full Review Source:

A moody fantasia of barely repressed compulsions and desire.

July 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Breillat directs it more like a rarefied period drama than a fantasy, stirred with poetic touches and offbeat humor and dark twists...

June 27, 2010 Full Review Source:

[S]omething very different and, as usual for the filmmaker, very fresh.

June 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Bright Lights Film Journal
Bright Lights Film Journal

Audience Reviews for Bluebeard

An aristocrat with a blue beard marries young girls, who always wind up dead. There are a few startling images near the end that pop out because the rest of the story so flat, but the for the most part the matter-of-fact minimalist style fades the magic and mystery of the fairy tale.
April 4, 2012
Greg S

Super Reviewer

In "Bluebeard," two young girls, Catherine(Marilou Lopes-Benites) and Marie-Anne(Lola Giovannetti), wander into an attic that they have not been strictly forbidden from entering but not exactly given permission to enter, either. There, they play games and read the story of Bluebeard again.

Marie-Catherine(Lola Creton) and Anne(Daphne Baiwir) are sent home from a private school when their father is killed by a carriage while saving a child. Things are no better at home when all of their belongings are taken away and their mother(Isabelle Lapouge) is left with two daughters she cannot a provide a dowry for. However, Bluebeard(Dominique Thomas), the enormously wealthy lord of a nearby castle, is looking for a new wife since all of his old ones have gone missing.

I don't recall specifically how much Catherine Breillat might have changed in adapting the classic fairytale for the screen but regardless she makes it her own. While much more sedate than most of her other movies, it has more than its share of transgressions and forbidden knowledge with her contributing much intelligent thought on the subject of female sexuality.(For this reason and I may be alone on this, I think Catherine Breillat would make a fine director for the next "Twilight" movie.) The girls in the present have their own weird ideas on what marriage is supposed to be and no idea what to expect in the future. On the other hand, Marie-Catherine has no illusions when it comes to marriage and Bluebeard and prepares herself accordingly.
April 4, 2012
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A strangely disjointed tale, based on the Bluebeard fairy tale, told as a cautionary tale that leaves the viewer feeling somehow short-changed. One questions the artistic decision to tell the tale as a young girl reading it to her older sister, and then dissolving to the action of the story. The scenery is sumptuous, the costumes are gorgeous, the actors well chosen, but at a mere hour and twenty minutes, the ending seems forced, terribly rushed, and serves no other purpose than to allow the director to say she filmed an ending. The context is somehow missing, at least for this viewer. My favorite Muse calls this Breillat's most accessible film to date, and with that one must concur, but that still isn't saying much. One always comes away with the feeling that one missed something, some cultural reference or some mistranslated line of dialog, that would make the screenplay make more sense. This viewer has been left wanting a clearer message far too many times.
April 4, 2012
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

I really like the little girl reading the story, could have done with out the community theateresque medieval costumes.
April 4, 2012

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Bluebeard (Barbe Bleue) (DE)
  • Bluebeard (Barbe Bleue) (UK)
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