Declaration of War (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The opening night film at this year's Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival, this exuberant and deeply moving film follows a new couple, Romeo (Jeremie Elkaim) and Juliette (Valerie Donzelli), who must face the ultimate test when they discover their new born child is very ill. Gathering their friends and family together, they confront the ordeal together as a form of warfare. Donzelli infuses the story with unexpected verve using a host of cinematic techniques, music and heartbreaking … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Jérémie Elkaïm, Valérie Donzelli
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 5, 2012
Box Office: $46.2k
IFC Films - Official Site


as Adam at 18 Months

as Adam at 8 Years

as Claudia

as Geneviève

as Dr. Fitoussi

as Professor Sainte-Ros...

as Dr. Kalifa of the IG...

as Auxiliary Nurse

as Radiologist
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Critic Reviews for Declaration of War

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (21)

True to its title, "Declaration of War" is a visceral, forthright visit to the front lines of battle, where superhuman courage is called for as life-or-death skirmishes turn into a long slog of survival.

Full Review… | March 23, 2012
Washington Post
Top Critic

The tonal shifts, the "Amelie"-style voiceover and the punk-retro soundtrack may jar some viewers who expect uninterrupted violins, but "Declaration of War" is alternative therapy that really works.

Full Review… | March 9, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

The subject matter is as serious as can be, yet the style is vibrant, energetic and engaging -- often tense, but without a trace of woe-is-me.

Full Review… | February 17, 2012
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

"Declaration of War" movingly chronicles a unique and terrible fight: that of two parents against the cancer that has invaded the brain of their 18-month-old son.

Full Review… | February 16, 2012
Seattle Times
Top Critic

As ponderous and overwrought as a film hogged by a couple of young hipsters named Roméo and Juliette can be.

Full Review… | February 16, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

The film may even be too upbeat, especially the ending, which is too easy and contrived. Yet there's real emotion here...

Full Review… | February 16, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Declaration of War


A ridiculous and irritating film full of clichés, about an annoyingly optimistic couple out of a fairy tale facing a hard situation. Not only the narration is expository and unnecessary but everything else is also trivial and unsubtle, made by an inexpert director who never seems sure of what she wants to say.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


'Declaration of War'. Two charming leads, especially Valerie Donzelli, and a beautiful ending. Could have left 10-15 min in the editing room though.

I'm tempted to up my rating a little with the revelation that it's biographical, and Donzelli wrote, directed and starred in the thing, with it being based on her experiences, but I shall not. In a way, I'm glad I didn't know this before watching it.


Super Reviewer

In "Declaration of War," Romeo(Jeremie Elkaim) and Juliette(Valerie Donzelli, who also directed) meet sort of cute across a room full of people, before a slap in the face brings them back to reality. They wonder with their names if a cruel fate awaits them, not realizing they are in a flashback from a time when their son will be undergoing an MRI. The relationship actually starts well enough, at least until their son Adam cannot stop crying. Relax, says Dr. Prat(Beatrice De Stael), he is just eating too much. And then another set of symptoms presents itself that are not so easily explained away...

"Declaration of War" is a deeply affecting movie about how a couple's love is severely tested by their son's illness and in general reflecting the worst fears of parents everywhere.(A little late with the warning about internet searches though.) In truth, they are never alone, with a full support system of friends and family behind them. And as much as I usually hate children, I was feeling for the little fellow.

So, while the movie is based on Donzelli and Elkaim's real life experiences, making an excellent movie like this out of them is nowhere near as easy as it might seem. Give full credit to Donzelli as she keeps things moving throughout by pulling out all the stops like alternating narrators and even a musical number that accentuates the melancholy mood.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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