A massive undertaking and an accomplished piece of filmmaking in a solid tradition of intelligent, meticulous literary adaptations.
Assayas is masterful in using offscreen sounds to conjure up a novelistic sense of milieu and in handling various ceremonies, and the film's lush texture explains why he called it his anti-Dogma film.
Ambitious, efficient, sensitive, but a little disappointing.
More than a few of us would show up for the chance to see and hear Huppert and Beart read from the Limoges telephone directory. Assayas can count himself lucky for that.
| Original Score: 2/4
Opens at a funeral, ends on the protagonist's death bed and doesn't get much livelier in the three hours in between.
The movie is relentlessly gorgeous, and brims over with color, light and movement like a room-filling Monet canvas.
| Original Score: B+
Assayas' ambitious, sometimes beautiful adaptation of Jacques Chardonne's novel.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
No number of fantastic sets, extras, costumes and spectacular locales can disguise the emptiness at the center of the story.
It's so crammed with scenes and vistas and pretty moments that it's left a few crucial things out, like character development and coherence.
What the film sometimes lacks in depth it generally makes up for in breadth and commitment to its many meaty themes.
| Original Score: 3/4
It will not appeal to the impatient, but those who like long books and movies will admire the way it accumulates power and depth.
The movie suffers from two fatal ailments -- a dearth of vitality and a story that's shapeless and uninflected.
| Original Score: 1/4
Although Olivier Assayas' elegantly appointed period drama seems, at times, padded with incident in the way of a too-conscientious adaptation ... its three-hour running time plays closer to two.
With the sweeping yet intimate, profoundly moving Les Destinees, director Olivier Assayas has made a great film from Jacques Chardonne's classic novel.
| Original Score: 4/5
Mr. Berling's male protagonist concludes that love is all that matters, but it is said more than it's felt, and told more than it's shown.
The movie turns out to be [Assayas'] homage to the Gallic 'tradition of quality,' in all its fusty squareness.
| Original Score: C
Watching Les Destinées, whose pace may not be for everyone, is to be virtually part of the creative process.
It's a shame that the storyline and its underlying themes ... finally seem so impersonal or even shallow.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
You are aware of the richness and intricacy of Mr. Assayas's conception, and the breakneck enthusiasm with which he has plunged into his nation's past.
An impressively coordinated enterprise that lasts three hours, manages a large cast, and covers a period of 30-odd years while successfully unfolding as a series of scenes from the life of a single character.
With exquisite craftsmanship ... Olivier Assayas has fashioned an absorbing look at provincial bourgeois French society.