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Farewell (L'affaire Farewell) Reviews

Page 1 of 9
bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

March 11, 2013
Serguei Kostine's book 'Bonjour Farewell' serves as the source of the historical moments of one of the most important fractures in the Cold War in 1981 - the act of valor of Sergei Gregoriev - and the script for this very important and controversial film was written by Eric Reynaud and Christian Carion who also directed this stunning film (he is best remembered for his brilliant 'Joyeux Noël' which incidentally starred many of the actors in this film). It is a disturbing movie to watch, a film that was condemned by the Russian government, disallowing filming in Moscow - except for some undercover camera work for an apparent Coca-Cola commercial, and refusing to allow Russian actors to take part in the project. It reveals the brutality of the Communist regime of the time, a period Russia would prefer to remain occult

The story is somewhat convoluted, a fact that makes it even more revealing of the nature of espionage work at the time. Sergei Gregoriev (Emir Kusturica) passes secret documents to French spy Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet) living in Moscow with his wife (Alexandra Maria Lara), documents so important that Froment must take extraordinary risks to pass them to the US Government. In the US President Reagan (Fred Ward) must balance the importance of these documents with the balance of relationships with the French government under François Mitterrand (Philippe Magnan) it is a tense struggle for power and at the crux of it is Froment and the ultimately captured Gregoriev who is tortured to reveal his French espionage contact. The rush to finish at the end of the film is breathtaking and heartbreaking. There is a conversation between Froment and the US Feeney (Willem Dafoe) that places the soul of the Cold War years in perspective.

Every aspect of this film is involving - the acting is first rate from everyone involved, the pacing is in the fashion edge of the seat direction, and the sharing of the innermost secrets of espionage is information we all should study. A reenactment of the Reagan/Gorbachev era as well defined as any film has dared to show us. Not only is this excellent filmmaking, but it is also information about a man's (Sergei Gregoriev) sacrifice that deserve honor. 4 1/2 stars 3-10-13
Ross C

Super Reviewer

March 6, 2010
Modern take on the cold war spy thriller genre. Works really thanks to the odd-ball couple of Emir Kusturica and Guillaume Canet, plus the director has penchant for writing sentimental stories about engineers. Apparently this true story is so sensitive that no Russians were allowed to perform and the film makers weren't allowed to film in Russia!
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

April 30, 2011
I guess, if you're into this sort of thing, it could be called a good movie. I don't have much to say about this one. It's...subtle? I was just proud that I recognized Emir Kusturica in something else at some point, and it was because of this film!
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2012
"Farewell" starts in 1981 Moscow where Pierre Froment(Guillaume Canet) steps away from his daughter's dance recital because he says he accidentally left his car door open. Which he did. On purpose, for Sergei Gregoriev(Emir Kusturica) who is none too pleased with the amateur theatrics when he is serious about handing over secrets to the West. Well, Vallier(Niels Arestrup) of the DST kind of likes the amateur status of Froment, thank you for asking, since the KGB will never be looking in his direction. The next meeting goes much better with the KGB Colonel handing the French businessman classified documents which get passed on to Vallier. Newly elected French President Mitterand(Philippe Magnan) then uses the valuable information to placate Reagan(Fred Ward) when he complains about stinkin' Commies in his cabinet.

Inspired by a true story, "Farewell" succeeds with no little help from an eclectic cast(David Soul? Really? Seriously?) to build a compelling story on personal and historical levels by not laying it on too thick(a little obviously, maybe, with an ending that's drawn out) in its international game of give and take. The history proposed here is much more believable than anything involving a rogue Congressman from Texas, even as some may be choking on their French fries when credit is given to the French. Plus, the period music actually made me feel nostalgic for a change.

All of which is only possible through trust, albeit sometimes misplaced. That leads into a tale of friendship and a different kind of hero.(I like how the movie references "The Man who Shot Liberty Valance" by turning it on its head.) To be honest, I did not like Gregoriev to start because he sounds like a fanatic in his call for a need for change away from the stagnation of the Brezhnev era but quickly warmed up to him.(Now, I supposed one could play the Stalin card when bringing up Soviet Communism which I would then trump with the Khruschev card with his bringing the Soviet Union kicking and screaming out into the bright light of the day.) Even at Froment's urging, Gregoriev cannot leave his homeland, as he could never return which would force him into a life of permanent exile, yelling himself hoarse at ballparks. Now, all we have to figure out is how to peacefully remove Putin from office.
Blaster1618
Blaster1618

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2011
The soviets leaderships inability to believe-in and the reinvest in there their own R&D was the real end of there reign and the falling of the wall.

Emir Kusturica plays an altruistic KGB assistant section chief at a ultra secure center for processing all KGB intelligence. Due to his position he knows the enormity of the KGB's total infiltration into every foreign powers diplomatic and information gathering services. He chooses Guillaume Canet an engineer with no background in espionage, because the KGB considers him one of the few foreigners in Moscow not being trailed by the KGB. This is no James Bond spies story its just two relatively normal guys trying to save the world for their families.

Willem Dafoe plays a minor part up until the end as a head CIA something or another. But the scene at the end is a must see.

One note that detracts from the movie is it bounces between French-English and Russian spoken language and the french translation move by at a mile a minute, really hard to keep up with.
kylemydude
kylemydude

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2010
A very solid and competent political and historical thriller.
November 16, 2012
A typical spy movie where double agents play both sides. The interesting thing about "L'affaire Farewell" is that the story is more told from the French and the Russian standpoint.
January 28, 2010
Cold War thriller in French English and Russian showing the build up to "Perestroika" and "Star Wars". It manages to capture the complicated nature of being a spy and maintaining family relationships. It also shows that the only thing that matters in life is relationships, and that family is the most important. This aspect can often be trivialized with melodrama in most films, but "Farewell" manages to convey it in a moving way.

The fact that it was in three different languages was impressive from the actors points of view, and I also felt it made it more believable.

The time period was also well maintained, at times it did seem to be too good however for Moscow. Everything was bright and happy until the end, this may have been symbolic of how spy work only leads to sadness for all those involved, but perhaps this is a bit much. This made me compare it to the darkness of "TInker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", and how that film's character seemed more realistic. I did however enjoy the walkman and Queen bits. I had also never seen Moscow in that blissful perspective with its parks and clean streets and buildings.

I also wish to fall in love with French culture, and all cultures just as Grigoriev did. There is something romantic and appealing about this idea.
Norzeleak
June 28, 2010
Not every scene in Farewell plays out as well as I'd hoped, and some seem almost randomly added in with little necessary ties to the story, but when the plot gets back on track, Farewell delivers about what you'd expect it to.
August 17, 2013
Great spy thriller if you don't Mind reading subtitles.
August 1, 2013
As a thriller, this wasn't such a much, but it's fascinating anyway because of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. It's the based on facts story of a Russian whistle-blower who, back in 1981, manages to expose the entire USSR intelligence operation, all the infiltrators into American, French and UK military planning. He acts because he thinks the Soviet system has to come to an end. It worked, he did bring down the 'evil empire' and what he got for it was a bullet in the head. Wat fate is store for our two much-needed whistleblowers? Why aren't Americans staunchly behind them? What's going on?
Brett W.
June 24, 2013
I'm glad I saw this before bedtime, because it put me right to sleep.
January 5, 2013
I am not sure about the film's veracity but the acting is excellent.
December 24, 2012
I loved this movie. In French, English, and Russian...what a great thriller!
October 1, 2012
A Realistic Espionage Film... Intelligently made...
October 29, 2012
An excellent espionage thriller without the trappings of a James Bond film, with real human characters.
Rasko P
September 28, 2012
I think I felt asleep that is why I didn't get it... I guess I have to watch it again..
September 26, 2012
The main characters are played by successful film directors in their own right. They are the film. As often happens with "inspired by" movies, it is hard to separate fact from fiction, and film-making from history. So I don't try. This is a great perspective, and a subdued one, of how an unassuming French man helped set in motion the fall of the Soviet Union. The typical stories we see about espionage between U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. take a back seat to the more personal stories of those were involved. It also explores the question of lying and betrayal, within relationships and to country. It is a tangled web when one sets out to do right.
August 28, 2012
I found myself pretty bored. It plods along at a shockingly slow pace and the story seems to overreach the ability of the movie format.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2012
"Farewell" starts in 1981 Moscow where Pierre Froment(Guillaume Canet) steps away from his daughter's dance recital because he says he accidentally left his car door open. Which he did. On purpose, for Sergei Gregoriev(Emir Kusturica) who is none too pleased with the amateur theatrics when he is serious about handing over secrets to the West. Well, Vallier(Niels Arestrup) of the DST kind of likes the amateur status of Froment, thank you for asking, since the KGB will never be looking in his direction. The next meeting goes much better with the KGB Colonel handing the French businessman classified documents which get passed on to Vallier. Newly elected French President Mitterand(Philippe Magnan) then uses the valuable information to placate Reagan(Fred Ward) when he complains about stinkin' Commies in his cabinet.

Inspired by a true story, "Farewell" succeeds with no little help from an eclectic cast(David Soul? Really? Seriously?) to build a compelling story on personal and historical levels by not laying it on too thick(a little obviously, maybe, with an ending that's drawn out) in its international game of give and take. The history proposed here is much more believable than anything involving a rogue Congressman from Texas, even as some may be choking on their French fries when credit is given to the French. Plus, the period music actually made me feel nostalgic for a change.

All of which is only possible through trust, albeit sometimes misplaced. That leads into a tale of friendship and a different kind of hero.(I like how the movie references "The Man who Shot Liberty Valance" by turning it on its head.) To be honest, I did not like Gregoriev to start because he sounds like a fanatic in his call for a need for change away from the stagnation of the Brezhnev era but quickly warmed up to him.(Now, I supposed one could play the Stalin card when bringing up Soviet Communism which I would then trump with the Khruschev card with his bringing the Soviet Union kicking and screaming out into the bright light of the day.) Even at Froment's urging, Gregoriev cannot leave his homeland, as he could never return which would force him into a life of permanent exile, yelling himself hoarse at ballparks. Now, all we have to figure out is how to peacefully remove Putin from office.
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