Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love) (1959) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love) (1959)

Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Alain Resnais's multi-award-winning Hiroshima, Mon Amour is neither an easy film to watch nor to synopsize, but it remains one of the high-water marks of the French "new wave" movement. Resnais and scenarist Marguerite Duras weave a complex story concerning a French actress's (Emmanuelle Riva) experiences in occupied France, juxtaposed with the horrendous ordeal of a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) coping psychologically with the bombing of Hiroshima. These stories are offered in quick flashback vignettes, which permeate the contemporary story of the woman's relationship with the architect in contemporary Hiroshima. The characters are of the Then and the Now simultaneously, much like the famous watch that was dug out of the ruins of Hiroshima, its hands permanently affixed at 9:15. Resnais refuses to honor the traditional "unities" of film: we are never certain at any time whether we're watching the events of 1959 or of 1945. In truth, Hiroshima Mon Amour is not quite as inscrutable as certain critics would have us believe (the central theme of the importance of coming to grips with one's past comes through loud and clear), but it confused many filmgoers upon its first release, some of whom gave up the picture as a bad job and steered clear of all future Resnais efforts. Viewers are strongly encouraged to stay with this one from beginning to end; it won't be a smooth ride, but it will be an immensely rewarding one.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Marguerite Duras
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 24, 2003
Box Office: $96.4k
Rialto Pictures - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love)

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (7)

"Hiroshima Mon Amour" will always be too studied a masterwork for some tastes. But Riva's performance, chief among its triumphs, remains electrifying.

Full Review… | October 30, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

That rare movie in which present and past meld in every frame to convey a sense of time obliterated, or a dream having a nightmare.

Full Review… | October 16, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The first film to juxtapose disastrous erotic passion with the political disasters of the mid century.

Full Review… | October 14, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

Although it presents, on occasion, a baffling repetition of words and ideas, much like vaguely recurring dreams, it, nevertheless, leaves the impression of a careful coalescence of art and craftsmanship.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Integrating past and present, poetic images and documentary footage, music and Marguerite Duras' dialogue, the film achieved a structural balance of such emotional and intellectual power that audiences were stunned.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

...effortlessly moves us between past and present, personal and political.

Full Review… | October 10, 2015

Audience Reviews for Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love)


arresting, beautiful and poetic incantation on memory, time and identity

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


Alain Resnais' Hiroshima, Mon Amour is a captivating cogitation on the power of memory.
From the opening shots of Hiroshima, Mon Amour, the long mesmeric tracking shots bring to mind Resnais's previous film, Night and Fog. Also shot on location, the first part of Hiroshima, Mon Amour feels like a documentary as shots of the Hiroshima memorial are juxtaposed with newsreel footage of the actual victims of the disaster. Yet unlike Night and Fog, the documentary doesn't feel objective, but rather personal & distant. Here Resnais displays the inability to cope with a horror of this magnitude. He even shows clips of a Japanese reenactment as part of this woman's mental process in the mueseum, which serves to show how the woman will never know the extent of the tragedy and her thoughts of it are reduced to vapid and shallow conjecture.
It is a film about memory and identity. The film revolves around two lovers who wish to escape the horrors of their past but still retain the beauty which they previously experienced. It is about the necessity of forgetfulness, but also the overwhelming fear that accompanies it.
Resnais also focuses a lot on the skin of the lovers which highlights the frailty of man, which was a crucial idea during the filming of this in 1958 when the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union was ubiquitous.
Although some scenes feel rather laborious to get through, it is a very important film and one that is bound to stir up many emotions in the viewer.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

A French actress shooting a film about peace in Hiroshima meets a Japanese man in a bar. They decide to go together. They fall in love. The woman describes to the man her past in France: her adolescence, her first love, her first loss, her madness.

The backdrop of Hiroshima, Mon Amour, is obviously the horrors left behind by the atomic bomb. The woman herself acknowledges the irony of falling in love in a place like that. The images of disease and misery, in contrast with the lovers', constitutes a great deal of the poetry the film involves.

Throughout most of the story, both characters are shown in moments of intimacy: either having face-to-face conversations, or in bed, sharing their deepest secrets and most bizarre thoughts. In a way, their love is born out of interest, or need: both characters have survived tragedies (linked also to the war in one way or another), and that particular point in common is what brings them together. They find in each other a space of trust to let out their pain. They re-imagine the situations of their past including the other: their connection is so profound that it seems, as they often repeat, impossible to envision life without the other.

Hiroshima Mon Amour is a very experimental, poetic film. Alain Resnais's masterpiece is the precursor of such beautiful films as Before Sunrise, or Lost in Translation, or A Man and a Woman, only that the waters here run deeper and darker. Resnais shapes his characters out of the cries and the loss of World War II, showing his audience just how much damage the conflict caused. Thousands of stories of abandonment behind the faces of 2 characters. At the same time, it's also a film that exemplifies with unbelievable beauty the possible randomness of empathy: The relationship between the leads is unforgettable, epic, transcending chemistry or compatibility. But why in Hiroshima? Why this man, or this woman? Why now? Resnais manipulates their memories, their perceptions, time, and space, to create one of the most intense love stories I've ever seen onscreen, even when the most evident expression of physical love he allows himself to show is but a kiss.

The image of the woman's hand on the man's back is an icon of French new wave, and one of the most significant representations of intimacy world cinema has ever produced.

Elvira B

Super Reviewer

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