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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)



Average Rating: 4.5/10
Reviews Counted: 73
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 51

The heavy-handed narrative collapses under its own weight.


Average Rating: 3.4/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 21

The heavy-handed narrative collapses under its own weight.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 46,728

My Rating

Movie Info

In 1429, a teenage girl from a remote village stood before the world and announced she would defeat the world's greatest army and liberate her country. In began as a small voice in the heart of a simple girl... but the voice grew stronger, rulers were drawn to listen, armies were empowered to fight and her countrymen were inspired to believe.


Drama, Classics

Luc Besson, Andrew Birkin

Oct 30, 2001

Columbia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now


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All Critics (91) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (51) | DVD (16)

Both visually spectacular and staggeringly awful.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The lack of a plausible leading lady is enough to sink what is otherwise an eye-catching, although heavily '90s-style, telling of one of history's most frequently filmed stories.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic


January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Besson seems to have no sense that Joan herself was giving a performance.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Jovovich brings an intensity to the role well-matched to Besson's stylistic energy, though this comic-bookish take on Jeanne D'Arc won't be winning any historical-society awards. [Blu-ray]

January 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Impressive to look at, but in the end, it just doesn't ring true.

November 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Makes precious little sense.

March 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

This unusual French interpretation of Joan of Arc sees her as a radical zealot like John Brown.

March 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Girlfriend was a few fries short of a happy meal.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: 3BlackChicks Review
3BlackChicks Review

I know less about Joan of Arc now than I did going into the film.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

In Luc Besson's The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, little is compelling, explained or even interesting.

January 1, 2000

The ludicrous casting of Hoffman is just the fatal bit of kindling on this Joan's fire.

January 1, 2000
New Times

It's bad history and bad filmmaking.

January 1, 2000
Los Angeles Daily News

Poorly conceived.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

Jovovich is not capable of bringing to the screen such a complicated person.

January 1, 2000

Among the laughably bad lines is one uttered by The Conscience. 'When does the pain end and the pleasure begin?' he asks Joan. For The Messenger's audience, it is as soon as the ending credits begin to roll.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

Luc Besson's The Messenger is a fairly underrated dramatic action film about Joan of Arc. Although not perfect, I found this one to be much better than what most critics have said about it. The film packs action and those scenes are very well done, but in terms of effective storytelling, I felt that the performances were decent, but what really stood out were the battle scenes. In terms of story, this does a good job at telling Joan of Arc's story, but it is not accurate either. The film has the potential of sparking interest in the subject. Milla Jovovich does what she can and she gives a fairly good performance here, but the film overall will never stand out in terms of an epic. In retrospect, there are far better films than this, but The Messenger is still mindless popcorn fair that is fun from start to finish. Of course there are things that seem out of place, but overall, it's definitely not as bad as what I'd think it would be. There are things that could have been improved upon considering its subject, but in the end, it's a fairly accomplished movie that manages to be quite good despite its flaws. If you're going into this film expecting something historically accurate, then you'll be disappointed. Director Luc Besson obviously takes creative liberties with Joan of Arc's story. Go into this one expecting a mindless action drama with an interesting plot, but it is never anything great either. I enjoyed it, but felt it should have been much better. The story had the potential of being truly memorable, and with that being said, The Messenger is good, but the definitive Joan of Arc film has yet to be made.
October 6, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

When Joan walks into the royal court for the first time to plead her cause, to free France of English poachers, they are already whispering about the peasant girl some claim as a saint. Except for not seeing how she came to be whispered about I really enjoyed Besson's tale (pro-French and anti-Catholic) that underlines how any act of faith is ultimately a dance with self doubt. It may is may not be of importance that Besson and Jovovich were divorcing as this filmed, so you decide.
June 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

Movies Like The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

    1. Joan of Arc: I'm off my meds.
    – Submitted by Jesse K (16 months ago)
    1. Joan's conscience: I can't save this movie. I can only stink it up even more.
    – Submitted by Jesse K (16 months ago)
    1. Joan of Arc: I'm on the rag.
    – Submitted by Jesse K (16 months ago)
    1. Joan of Arc: May God forgive your blasphemy, because I never will!
    – Submitted by Facebook U (2 years ago)
    1. Joan of Arc: : I've seen enough blood, but if you want more, I can't stop you. But I must warn you, that it will be your blood, and not ours.
    – Submitted by Facebook U (2 years ago)
    1. Joan of Arc: They have nothing to hear because there's nothing to hear! And why is there nothing to hear? Because I haven't DONE anything! And why haven't I done anything? Because none of you, WILL LISTEN TO ME!
    – Submitted by Facebook U (2 years ago)
View all quotes (21)

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Foreign Titles

  • Johanna von Orléans (DE)
  • Jeanne d'Arc (FR)
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