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La Rafle (2012)

tomatometer

42

Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 7

No consensus yet.

audience

68

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 1,978

My Rating

Movie Info

In picturesque Montmarte, three children wearing a yellow star play in the streets, oblivious to the darkness spreading over Nazi-occupied France. Their parents do not seem too concerned either, somehow putting their trust in the Vichy Government. But beyond this view, much is going on. Hitler demands that the French government round up its Jews and put them on trains for the extermination camps in the East. The collaborators start to put the plan into effect and within a short time, 13,000 of

Unrated,

Art House & International, Drama

Roselyne Bosch

$0.2M

Menemsha Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (14)

Director Rose Bosch's intentions seem genuine, but her dramatizations frequently undermine the horrific real-life events on which they're based.

June 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a mainstream, sentimental drama because it needs to be. It announces in a clear voice that this happened.

November 20, 2012 Full Review Source: NPR
NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A well-meaning but inexpertly dramatized account of the roundup of 13,000 Parisian Jews in the summer of 1942.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The utter hopelessness experienced by European Jewry is never hinted at, and in its way this betrays the Holocaust story.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Treading on a shameful piece of French history, Bosch bizarrely intercuts scenes of Hitler, Himmler, and Hess working out the logistics of the exportations, in vignettes that smack of Inglourious Basterds farce ...

November 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie succeeds in generating only mild outrage, tempered by impeccable tastefulness and the safe distance of time.

November 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A somber, flat, occasionally moving reminder of one of France's darkest moments

March 14, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

Realistically brings to the screen. . .as visceral, powerful, and ever more awful scenes. . . but the larger historical context comes across as stiff educational recreations.

January 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

Sentimentality may make the movie's agony more digestible, but its darkness resists any glossing over of what isn't only France's, but Europe's painful legacy.

November 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A Holocaust 101 film that focuses on the roundup of French Jews in 1942 from a child's point of view.

August 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Compuserve
Compuserve

There are two halves to "La Rafle."

August 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

'La Rafle' was a hit in France, and now you have a chance to see what Europe was raving about last year.

December 22, 2011 Full Review Source: KWQC-TV (Iowa)
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

Horrors of War Revisited in French 'La Rafle'

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Bosch boldly tackles the psyche of Hitler, showing the Führer enjoying the high life with Eva Braun as he instructs his minions...

July 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

It's a useful primer on this period of French history, but isn't much more than that.

July 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Scotsman

There is no denying the power of the events, the importance of them now being told in movie form, nor the clear-eyed way that Bosch dramatises previously dry historical facts - in order to leave us misty-eyed.

June 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Audience Reviews for La Rafle

Dull, mediocre. A carnival of clichés.
November 13, 2010
pier007

Super Reviewer

Yee-haw, y'all, we's gonna have ourselves a round-up! I can't help but think of that whenever I see this film's English translation, which is kind of sick, considering that we're talking about Nazi invasions and whatnot, something that probably wouldn't have happened if Hitler had proposed the Final Solution like I just did. Yeah, a genocide proposal is kind of hard to take seriously when you redneck it, but then again, hollering yourself nearly into a seizure about how blondes with blue eyes are the master race, whereas Jews power most everything that's wrong in the world doesn't sound too much more professional, so I guess Hitler would have gotten his point across eventually, and we must never forget that tragic fact, even if we can't really remember all of the films about it. Shoot, I joke, but this thing outsold "Shutter Island" on its first weekend in France, so clearly it's not as unnoticed as a certain American film festival at which it was screened, the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Man, you know that, like, 99% of the features in that festival are about Holocaust stuff, with 1% being overtly arty slow films that aren't about anything, seeing as how it would appear as though every film festival nowadays has to have at least one of those, probably because they couldn't make Cannes. Hey, I'm at least glad to see that no one is forgetting Jean Reno, who is awesome, so much so that I can see why he's not playing a man who is actually abducted by the Nazis in this film because it's hard to see him getting taken by Nazis without pulling some "Léon: The Professional", or rather, Quentin Tarantino moves on them (After the historical liberties that Tarantino pulled in a certain other Nazi film, my expectations for films of this type are left set on thin ice). Eh, I guess I'll take what I can get, just as long as it's a good film, something that this effort, well, isn't so much, because as decent as this film is, it's not without its issues.

There's certainly quite a bit of meat to this film's subject matter, but this Holocaust drama is relatively minimalist, and at two hours, it outstays its welcome, going padded out by too many subplots and too much material, until, after a while, repetition rears its ugly head into things, and would be more forgivable if all of this overblown story structure wasn't backed by atmospheric dryness. The film's isn't bone-dry to the point of being near-tedious, but the film does feel as though it's limping along, with just enough kick to sustain your investment, at least to a certian degree, but not necessarily to where your attention is fully sustained. If nothing else, the film is kind of bland, being no bore, but certainly much too slow, if not a touch dull at times, and with overdrawn story structuring giving you enough time to meditate upon the atmospheric dry spells, you're bound to find yourself disengaged a bit, with some dramatic issues not exactly helping engagement value. Due to overall underwhelmingness, this film's most genuine bits of emotional resonance are rarely all that effective, but they are here, though not all the time, because as dramatically intense as this film's worthy subject matter is, there come points in which ambition for dramatic resonance goes a bit too far and sparks sentimentality, which doesn't do too much damage to emotional effectiveness, but certainly does enough damage to subtelty to dilute the full genuineness and impact of certain points of dramatic punch. The emotional kick that this film tries so desperately to deliver hits its marks about more often than it misses, but make no mistake, there are dramatic misfires, thanks to subtlety issues and, of course, familiarity, something that plagues most every other aspect in this film, whose originality level doesn't necessarily have to be all that remarkable, but is much too low, as the film follows plenty of tropes as a Holocaust drama, and that restains a bit of the impact that you cannot afford to lose when aiming to deliver on the full effectiveness of a drama of this type. Conventionalism does a lot of damage to the final product, largely because it emphasizes natural shortcomings in this plot's relative thinness, which is further emphasized by pacing issues that leave the final product to meander along until, by the end, it slips short of rewarding and into underwhelmingness. Still, while the film can't exactly "round up" (Get it?) enough strengths to truly reward as much as it should, it is worth checking out, as it does indeed have its share of moments that break up a consistent degree of engagement value, complimented by inspired musicality.

Rather conventional, as well as often overemphasized as a major supplement to manipulativeness, this film's score - composed by Christian Henson - and classical soundtrack take a bit of getting used to as storytelling components, but once you find that you're able to go with this film's musicality, you'll find it to be a worthy compliment to atmospheric kick, which of course leaves you to further appreciate the sheer excellence in the music by its own right. From the efforts of such powerhouse legends as Frédéric Chopin and Louis Moreau Gottschalk (You even get a bit of Richard Wagner's fabulous prelude to "Das Rheingold" for all too brief of a moment), to the efforts of such modern classical maestros as Georges Delerue and Philip Glass, this film boasts plenty of lovely classical compositions, and after a while, you begin to feel that they do a lot to drive this film, which is driven enough by the very minimalist subject matter that it all too often betrays to some extent. This film's story is one that has been explored to death, as the final product leaves you to realize while it works a bit too hard to get emotional rises, and not hard enough to keep structural and atmospheric pacing smooth, but, needless to say, this subject matter is very worthy, with plenty of dramatic potential that isn't well-controlled as it should be, but is undeniable, especially when it is, in fact, done justice to by high spots within Roselyne Bosch's script, whose strengths are outweighed by the strengths within Bosch's direction. Sure, even as director, Bosch hits many issues, to the point of driving the film into underwhelmingness, yet for every storytelling misstep, Bosch delivers on just enough atmospheric reinforcement to keep you from drifting too far away, if not a dramatic note that is, in fact, genuine effective, not to where you're left in tears, but certainly to where you're moved, feeling the emotional weight that you should be feeling more of in the long run, but get just enough of to keep your investment reasonably stable. Speaking of Holocaust films, if I can loosely quote Liam Neeson as the late, great Oskar Schindler here, Bosch "could have done more", making too many mistakes with handling of this delicate subject matter, but nevertheless acceling just enough to keep you adequately attached to the final product, which is easily powered the most by its performances. Acting material isn't exactly torrential in its wealth, but just about every notable performance in the film has a moment to shine, whether it be by one of the young child talents (The Concetto twins were annoying, as you would expect from little kids, but I guess they were alright), or by one of the older, if not all-out seasoned talents, all of whom deliver on enough inspired emotion and conviction to sell you on the human depth of this film and carry the final product. Sure, it takes more than just strong performances to carry a drama of this type out of underwhelmingness, and considering that this film is just so flawed, the final product comes out falling short of what it could have been, but not so short that it's not powered just enough by inspiration in direction, writing and acting to engage more often than not.

In the end, a somewhat overblown and often repetitious story structure, backed by dull spells in atmosphere, dilute engagement value, while manipulative moments in emotional punch and consistent conventionalism dilute dramatic effectiveness enough for the final product to fall as unfortunately underwhelming, but not to where it's not still saved by the fine classical soundtrack and worthwhile subject matter - brought to life by inspired moments in Roselyne Bosch's direction, and carried by a myriad of compelling performances - to make "The Round Up" or "La Rafle" (Sounds like "raffle"; you don't want to enter this lottery, folks) a decent Holocaust drama that has a fair degree of moments, even though it could have struck deeper.

2.5/5 - Fair
March 10, 2013
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

A French war drama directed by Roselyne Bosch was based on the true story of a young Jewish boy and his family and friends who were victims the mass arrest of Jews by French police who were Nazi accomplices in Paris in July 1942. Many people seeing this film were enraged and saddened because this event has left a huge scar on the collective psyche of the French - on the 75th anniversary the French presidents declared: "There are in the life of a nation times that wound the memory and the idea one has of one's country. It is difficult to talk about such times... That day, France, the cradle of Enlightenment and human rights, a safe haven for the oppressed, committed an unforgivable sin. Breaking its word, it delivered those it should protect to their executioners." Sadly, looking what France is doing in Libya, Afghanistan and around the world it seems there were no lessons learned!

According to the elder Weiseman (who is seen in the film) Bosch has presented the story faithfully and accurately - and just how it felt. That is perhaps the most valuable praise she'll get for this drama. Bosch first decided to make a film of the events surrounding the rafle du Vel' d'Hiv because she felt sympathy with the victims - and that is nice to hear. My problem with the movie is the feel of detachment of the director with the story! And it should be completely different - her husband's family is Jewish and lived in Montmartre near where the Weismann family lived, her father had been detained in one of Francisco Franco's internment camps, so she felt a connection with the subject matter... but watching the movie everything seemed too "dry" for my taste! I appreciate the fact that Bosch decided to portray only real life characters in the film but for me there was too much focus on the social context of life for the Jewish family (and others) before the fateful day of July 16, 1942... The morally bankrupt Germans and Marshal Petain's collaborating French authorities are not different from today's governments , starting from the illegalities and amorality and up to the absence of any real transparency of the ruling bureaucracy but somehow they are presented like something out of this world! Turn around and observe...

This is not a drama to "like" or not, according to most critics, it's a film to make us understand; but I don't think it does it well.
March 24, 2012
PantaOz
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

A beautifully acted and sensitively handled account of a horrific and shameful (and heroic) period in 1940s France.
January 11, 2013
danieljparsons

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Kinder von Paris (DE)
  • The Round Up (La Rafle) (UK)
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