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Declaration of War (2012)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

71

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 1,596

My Rating

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

Jun 5, 2012

$46.2k

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Latest News on Declaration of War

January 27, 2012:
Critics Consensus: The Grey is Certified Fresh
While the world of filmdom trains its sights on the Sundance Film Festival this week, there are...

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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (6)

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.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop 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.

March 9, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop 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.

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop 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.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The raddest Lifetime movie you'll ever see.

August 24, 2012 Full Review Source: NECN

Touching, balanced and honest, the film imparts a life-affirming message about endurance, love and life's sudden gear shifts.

June 26, 2012 Full Review Source: 3AW

Donzelli's film is an incredibly brave one, given its subject matter and biographical nature, and is presented in a creative yet digestible way.

May 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine Australasia
Empire Magazine Australasia

The underlying drama holds the film together even when self indulgence and the rawness of inexperience weakens the film

May 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Horror movies excepted, it's the rare film that suggests the presence of a child doesn't Make Everything Better, as if by magic.

May 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The hippest kid-with-cancer movie you'll ever see.

March 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

... feels like a parody of any number of light French comedies, one in which the most important point is that the central characters remain beautiful (and surrounded by charming and attractive friends) ...

March 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

...the most unique 'child with cancer' movie in the history of cinema. This is an audacious film, with obvious roots in the French New Wave, particularly Godard

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

You can sense the deep investment Donzelli and Elkaïm have in what they're doing, which isn't something you get at the movies every day.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Taken as an assault against self-pity and sentimentality, this War puts up an involving, and ultimately thought-provoking, fight.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

For all its narrative flourishes, what makes "Declaration" feel special is the intimacy and honesty of its depiction of good people leaning on each other as they try to hold it together.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Exhilarating ... a very, very good chronicle of something that can happen to anyone, and how to steer a ship when there's no turning back.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: RedEye
RedEye

The personal weight of the story is abundant but as the title infers, Donzelli's film is not an ode to anguished soul-searching in the face of that most blunt notice of mortality.

February 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

What makes Declaration of War even more unusual is that the stars (Valérie Donzelli and Jérémie Elkaïm) and co-writers are the real-life couple who lived through this experience;

February 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Leonard Maltin's Picks
Leonard Maltin's Picks

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.
June 13, 2012
blacksheepboy

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.
June 3, 2012
c0up
c0up  

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.
June 2, 2013
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Juliette: I'm afraid he'll go blind.
    2. Romeo: If he can go blind, he can go deaf.
    3. Juliette: I'm afraid he'll go blind and deaf.
    4. Romeo: I'm afraid he'll go blind, deaf and mute.
    5. Juliette: I'm afraid he'll go blind, deaf, mute and a dwarf.
    6. Romeo: I'm afraid he'll go blind, deaf, mute, a dwarf, and queer
    7. Juliette: Or blind, deaf, mute, a dwarf, queer, and black.
    – Submitted by b y (19 months ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Das Leben gehört uns (DE)
  • Declaration of War (La guerre est declaree) (UK)
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