Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 10, 2007
arresting, beautiful and poetic incantation on memory, time and identity
Super Reviewer
½ April 20, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
April 27, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2007
Haunting, intimate and ultimately anguishing cinematic poem that works in dichotomies such as documentary-fiction, japan-france, river-sea, man-woman, cinema-literature, past-present.
Emmanuelle Riva is gorgeous, and Resnais narration is innovative, paused and wildly emotional.
Super Reviewer
September 12, 2012
Bleak, moody and scarred, "Hiroshima Mon Amour" is a film of uncommon power that treads both the emotional trauma of love and the ravages of war. Amid post-war Hiroshima, the film has maintained a deeply soulful dialogue between two lost people desperately trying to feel, to fall in love overnight, and to understand. But this isn't "Before Sunrise" here.

"Hiroshima Mon Amour" is just one of those legendary films whose allure can never be easily diminished. Yes, it is a truly impressive exercise in innovative filmmaking technique (it is the film that has deeply influenced the French New Wave), but buried deep within all its picturesque framings and compositions is a beating heart and a crying soul.

With a quietly affectionate screenplay written by Marguerite Duras that contains stream of consciousness dialogues that's as romantically longing as they are emotionally detached, "Hiroshima Mon Amour" conveys its power through its two main characters' internal articulacy. They speak in a manner that transcends the limitations of the tongue. They speak as if their feelings overlap with their vocabularies. They converse as if they see through each other's hearts. A French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada), the two of them represent the confusion we call love and the despairing post-romantic reality we call pain. They both know that they want each other but they just can't do it.

In the film's early scenes, we see how happy the French actress is when she's with the architect (shot in effective close-ups). But slowly and effectively, director Alain Resnais was able to construct her ironically fractured past by way of fragmentary flashbacks in Nevers, France that's as dream-like as the cityscapes of post-war Hiroshima. Sporting a haircut like that of Maria Falconetti in "The Passion of Joan of Arc" in the past, the French actress, just like the aforementioned saint, is a martyr, but not in the context of religion but of love.

Resnais has highlighted the fact that, like all women, the French actress just wants to feel love more than anything else but is deeply scarred to try yet again. She consummates the meager sexual pleasures with the architect but she's too afraid to go beyond that. She wants to feel once more. She wants to erase the past, forget and fall in love again but just can't because she knows that she won't be ready yet.

There's this powerful scene in the film where the actress is telling the architect the story of how she once loved a German soldier back in Nevers, France when suddenly, the architect seems to take on the identity of the deceased German lover as he identifies more and more with the story. The actress, on the other hand, lost in her own romantic recollection, unconsciously talks back to the architect as if she's talking to the German himself. Despite of her new-found connection with the Japanese gentleman, she still struggles to see herself together with other men other than her tragic lover. She's a captive of her own painful memories.

With a slightly upbeat musical score that seems to mock the utter desperation in the French actress and the Japanese architect's happenstance romance, "Hiroshima Mon Amour" is a film that does not scoff at the idea of love outside marriage but instead seems to mourn the idea as to why should this limitation exist. Although that's just a mere observation from yours truly, I just can't help but feel that aside from the French actress' inescapably scarred past, what may also be holding them back is the simple fact that they are both married.

There's this scene in the film where both of them, standing quietly across each other in a living room, straightforwardly expressed their utmost admirations to their respective husband and wife. Sure, for some reasons explainable only by the heart, they want to be with each other, but they are also aware of the fact that their marriages are too good to be on the losing end of their intended romantic transgression.

In another key scene, notice how the architect is chasing the actress through the streets of Hiroshima yet the latter keeps on moving and the former, uncharacteristic for a person who wants to catch up with someone, merely preferred to trail her. They want to hold each other yet they also want distance and space. "You're destroying me. You're good for me", the actress told the architect while they are presumably making love in the earlier moments of the film. There's the paradox of their romance right there.

"Hiroshima Mon Amour", aside from being a landmark film that has launched an entire cinematic movement, is an unforgettable love story not of two people but of two longing souls who, because of circumstances, just can't be together. "You saw nothing in Hiroshima", the Japanese architect said to the actress in the film's early scenes. Maybe that's what they need to believe in to properly move on.
Super Reviewer
August 27, 2008
Time is a thief,a delinquent of impeccable proportions.Hiroshima is the counterpart of Casablanca for most critics,to be fair...I don't think this is something universal since both these films have met equal opponents and masterpieces ever since the dawn of romance films..
But with Hiroshima...Duras dictated to Resnais that Amour isn't a possessive object,it's rather the location that causes it to be possessive between 2 lost souls.
A kiss is all that remains...
Super Reviewer
½ November 11, 2007
The images were affecting.
½ November 22, 2011
The first 15 minutes are magnetically filmed, great sequence. Really liked the movie in general, except I feel it lingers on Riva's past lover too much, and their lingering on her memory of it in particular.
½ June 29, 2008
I saw this in my French college class. It was very interesting. I wish I remembered more of it. It was stylistic, which usually throws me.
April 5, 2008
I've seen this many, many times. One of my favorite films. a story about memory and how it affects our sense of identity.
January 14, 2008
Coulda been so good. Flashbacks got rather tiresome though, and Riva's shrill wailing got old fast. I enjoyed seeing Hiroshima given a close look, with both Eastern and Western consideration.
December 5, 2007
I read that the scenes in this flick of disfigured people is an act. I'm sure lots of people there died, but this movie is not really about them .
July 19, 2007
Portrays an elaborate psychology on such things as thoughts, working of one's mind, and human emotions in the aftermath of the explosion in Hiroshima, Japan. The story brilliantly captures histories, a memory of love affair, and a connection of love and death. Felt a bit long, could have knocked off the last 20 minutes or so.
August 29, 2007
If you enjoy backstories and WWII love stories you will definitely like this movie. Lots of graphic images but that's because we actually did bomb Hiroshima! Sad...
½ July 7, 2007
A bit long, but a classic - after seeing it in a film class and writing a paper on it, I developed an intense respect for the story and the cinemagraphic elements involved. Hiroshima Mon Amour is a story about two people brought together by Hiroshima...(read more) years after its occurrence and falling in love, all the while trying to understand one and other as well as themselves in completely opposite but complimentary ways. Elle draws strength from her past turmoil and allows Hiroshima to affect her from the outside in while Lui finds his way into Elle?s inner core of emotion through his own experience with Hiroshima from the inside out. Alain Resnais did a great job intwining poetry and light into the story.
March 20, 2007
"Hi-ro-shi-ma. Hiroshima. That is your name."
"Yes, that is my name. Your name is Ne-vers. Nevers in France. "

More than a decade after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a visiting French woman has an affair with a Japanese architect. It is an impossible relationship since both are married. The two form an emotional connection that causes the woman to remember a traumatic prior relationship, which helps her to eventually purge herself of this anguish, but never the memories themselves. Hiroshima Mon Amour works as a documentary on memory. It is also one of the most influential works in film history. The use of seamless and analogous transitions between past and present, memory and reality creates the sense that time itself is shattered. Films such as Ashes of Time, 2046, and Memento owe much of their impact on this innovative editing.
March 7, 2007
Resnais' Noveau roman techniques are pure magick. Reality is meshed with daydream. What is what? Will you ever know? Not as Jean-Paul Sartre riffy as Last Year At Marienbad, but still a masterpiece.
December 13, 2006
A beautiful, lyrical film that reminds me of Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick's best work. The movie is ostensibly about a two-day affair between a Japanese businessman and a visiting French actress, but that description is far too inadequate to convey the sheer poetry of this cinematic work. Much of the movie is made up of whispered conversations in the dark, but we have plenty of opportunity to see the simultaneously beautiful yet devastated locale of Hiroshima, Japan. Some may find the film slow, but this is art, not entertainment, and is a marvelous experience.
½ October 22, 2015
Hiroshima Mon Amour is a ridiculously handsome film. The actors are good-looking, the sets are intricate and the intimate scenes between the two leads are amazing, some of the best I've ever seen. The snow and dust falling on their skin, but not showing their faces. It was very inventive. As for the story, it's intricate and a little confusing. There are montages of the destruction of Hiroshima at the beginning and flashbacks to the lead actress going mad after her German lover is beaten and the plot isn't all that compelling. The cinematography and the chemistry between the two actors is remarkable, though.
½ October 8, 2015
I also had the pleasure of watching Hiroshima mon amour a few nights ago. This film is a lasting impression that my analytic rating system sucks feeling out of films. Hiroshima is a great film but I gave it 3.5 (out of 5)* stars which belies my emotional connection to the film. Nothing was perfect about the picture but people seem to give it between 4 and 5 stars and I get it. Push that aside though because there is a raw, seething, emotion throughout that sucks you in, quickly, and doesn't let go until love walks out on you. The film works just as well as an historical document as it does a love story. Watching it in 2015 acts as a reminder of the lives of Europeans and Japanese people during World War Two forcing you to see beyond the villain that we have been trained to see.
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