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Chicken with Plums (2012)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 59
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 16

Whimsical and melancholy, Chicken with Plums is visually striking and dreamily compelling despite its occasional narrative missteps.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 6

Whimsical and melancholy, Chicken with Plums is visually striking and dreamily compelling despite its occasional narrative missteps.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 1,925

My Rating

Movie Info

Teheran, 1958. Since his beloved violin was broken, Nasser Ali Khan, one of the most renowned musicians of his day, has lost all taste for life. Finding no instrument worthy of replacing it, he decides to confine himself to bed to await death. As he hopes for its arrival, he plunges into deep reveries, with dreams as melancholic as they are joyous, taking him back to his youth and even to a conversation with Azrael, the Angel of Death, who reveals the future of his children... As pieces of the

Feb 26, 2013


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All Critics (59) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (16)

Resurrects the spirit of Middle Eastern fables, albeit with a French twist.

October 18, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This dreamy, visually inventive Iranian drama functions on so many levels of reality and obsession that it almost ceases to entertain.

October 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Chicken is a movie that begins with a crescendo and doesn't sustain its lyricism.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Predictability" is not in Satrapi and Paronnaud's vocabulary, and that is no small thing in this or any other movie era. But the whole those parts form never exceeds their sum.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Chicken With Plums" is a whimsical, sad, diverting and altogether delightful exploration of how cinema can benefit, not only from glancing back at its own past, but by staying open to parallel forms of presentation and play.

September 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This highly stylized, often beautiful rumination on life and art and the choices we make just sort of lies there, waiting to expire.

September 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As whimsical a film about a suicidal old man as you'll find.

August 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Under the Radar
Under the Radar

Suffused with longing and whimsy, Chicken with Plum's tone can get a little stretched; it can be a touch twee, even cautious. But mostly this adaptation retains a sad dreaminess and a melancholy comic-ness without ever getting cartoonish.

December 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

These moments give flavor, but fail to cohere into any particular taste.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

unfurls in a dazzling set of sequences and montages that demonstrates everything shown to us - like marriage and society itself - may not be as it seems, or what it should have been.

April 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife

While visually scrumptious, the movie struggles to reach a greater profundity that it never quite obtains, but its childlike emulation of a grand tragedy is indelibly precious.

April 14, 2013 Full Review Source: indieWIRE

On a scene-by-scene basis, much of Chicken With Plums delivers satisfactorily, but it adds up to much less than the sum of its many parts.

April 14, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

There are pleasures to be found in Chicken with Plums to be certain, but we'd hope for something a little more satisfying next time out from the directing team.

April 14, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist admirable trip down the rabbit hole of a lonely man's mind and inspiration, but it loses its way about halfway through the movie and feels like a series of inspired, lovely short films, held together by the barest of threads.

March 11, 2013 Full Review Source:

... uneven blend of whimsy and surrealism that's visually compelling but narratively flat.

January 14, 2013 Full Review Source:

Takes its time creating sad beauty

November 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

[Amalric] anchors Satrapi and Paronnaud's magical visual range and an emotional journey that zips from ecstasy to tragedy and back again.

October 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Satrapi and Parronnaud give us clues but no solution. The fun, for those of us who like fairy tales, is in guessing.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

Directors Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi use various cinematic tricks to examine their protagonist and his life. Voice-over narration, animation and music are a few of the options with which they compose their narration.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

It's fascinating as an offbeat storytelling exercise.

October 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Oregonian

A crushing disappointment by almost any standard, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parronaud's followup to the delightful Persepolis is a bad idea poorly realized.

September 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia City Paper
Philadelphia City Paper

Tepid stew.

September 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Fluctuating between the extraordinary and the dull, with sections of narrative explication and tangents, Chicken With Plums can be as frustrating as it is ambitious. It's more like Chicken With Plums -- and the Kitchen Sink.

September 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

There are a few writing problems and the melancholy mood weighs heavily, but Amalric's performance remains the film's rallying point.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Audience Reviews for Chicken with Plums

In 1940s Tehran, a master musician decides to go to bed to die after his beloved violin breaks and he can't find a replacement; his life story is told in flashbacks and dream sequences featuring appearances by Socrates, the Angel of Death, and a giant Sophia Loren. An exotic and elegant fantasy drama that strikes an unique tone of despondent whimsy; beautiful, romantic stuff.
November 14, 2012
Greg S

Super Reviewer

In 1958 Tehran, Nasser-Ali Khan(Mathieu Amalric, who gives another tremendous performance) is a world class violinist without a violin. So his brother Abdi(Eric Caravaca) tells him about a Stradivarius on sale in a distant town. However, Nasser's long suffering wife Faringuisse(Maria de Medeiros), a teacher, wants to know who is going to look after their son Cyrus(Mathis Bour) if he goes. Nasser simplifies that by taking him along, luckily not getting himself killed after his son spends the entire epic bus trip running up and down the aisle. In the end, Nasser gets his violin but is still not happy. In fact, he is so depressed that he takes to his bed to wait for death.

First, forget about the title "Chicken with Plums." It suggests sentimentality when the movie's mood is anything but in its sweet melancholy. However, the tone is never oppressive, as it floats along in a variety of styles, including animation, in its expressive examination of mortality and fate, going so far as to also explore the future destinies of the two children. Sure, it may seem silly to the outside observer that Nasser is so torn up about a lost violin. But as the movie sensitively shows by going back and forth in time, there are some very good reasons for his sadness that emanate from a single tragic event.
September 18, 2012
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. The Music Teacher: Sounds come out. But it is empty.It is barren. It is nothing. Life is a breath, Life is a sigh. It is this sigh that you must seize.
    – Submitted by Frances H (14 months ago)
    1. Adult Lili: Try to spot a nine pound baby under 499 pounds of meat. You'll see it's not easy.
    – Submitted by Frances H (14 months ago)
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