Mon Oncle Antoine (My Uncle Antoine) Reviews

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December 17, 2013
The perfect Canadian coming-of-age story remains one of the greatest Canadian films of all time.
September 2, 2013
Coming of age film set in Canada is unique and delightful.
January 6, 2013
A lovely reminiscence of one boy's realizations about the adult world.
June 2, 2012
The best film to ever come from Canada. Brilliant Coming of Age film that's heavy on mood and character.
½ February 18, 2012
Mon Oncle Antoine is uneven in places, and needs to be trimmed a tad, but overall provides a wonderful portrait of a young boy's coming of age. Jurta captures all of the awkwardness that comes with the transition to an adult along with the realization that you don't ever want to become your parents.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2012
I believe this is the only Jutra that I have seen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is amazing what drama can be brought forward from the residents of an otherwise simple industrial town.
December 19, 2011
It was nice to see a movie filmed in Quebec but I found this film VERY boring. It was suppose to be set in the 40's but to me it still felt it was set in the year it was filmed, 1971. I really wanted to like this film but it fell flat.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2011
Hailed as the best Canadian film, Mon Oncle Antoine is a very special film fully driven by character development and the free-flowing, lighthearted mood of a snowy environment. The movie is like an innocent and naive child playing with the snow, yet in a process of maturity and realization when that turning point in our lives hits us as a bullet.

August 30, 2011
Looks like a cool Canadian film (No pun intended).
Super Reviewer
November 25, 2010
I have such a soft spot for films like these: meandering, atmospheric, almost light, but with very definite and powerful currents beneath it. Mon Oncle Antoine is set in a cold, rural town in Quebec around Christmas (c. 1950 perhaps), and it tells a small story that could be called that terrible cliché: "coming-of-age".
So many different things are considered 'coming of age' that it's hard to state what that phrase means exactly. In the case of this film, it refers to a succession of seemingly unconnected, natural events that amount to an undeniable turning point: as if, in an instant, someone removed a carpet from under our feet and we were forced to jump into a realization, something we had never been aware of before. This all sounds very vague but comes across very clearly in Mon Oncle Antoine...
Benoit, a young boy, lives with his aunt and uncle. He helps them run the town's Magasin General and undertaking services. When the film begins, snow is falling and the town is getting ready fro Christmas; Benoit's Aunt meticulously prepares the shop's window displays, and he helps arrange the decoration and paper wrappings. A day before, he had helped his Uncle arrange the funeral of an old miner. So goes his life, a perfectly liveable and perfectly unexciting doing and undoing of little tasks. However, a combination of subtle experiences, including one with another young shopkeeper, and the mission to collect the body of a 15 year old boy several miles of snow away, bring him to a confrontation with the faces of life that had been hidden all along before. It's the old "loss of innocence" theme, regarding sex in one hand and death in the other, but told so wonderfully it only really sinks after credits roll.
This film is more mood than performance-driven; in fact the actors are so natural they almost go unnoticed, given the lack of eccentricity or any particular spectacularity in the characters themselves. If there is one remarkable thing it is Benoit's facial expression as his own awareness of passion and horror begin to expand. What I found most charming of all was the cinematography and creative use of camera movements, all supported by an awe-inspiring backdrop of both menacing and tranquil snow. The indoors scenes are filled with warmth and a feeling of community and familiarity so, somehow, the film is successfully alienating and inviting all at once.
Mon Oncle Antoine is certainly one of the most delicate and heartbreaking films about change and... yes, "coming of age" I've seen. I think at all ages people have to come to terms with something new, perhaps disagreeable and unexpected. That's why I don't think this kind of film ever loses its relevance. Watch it on a cold night with a glass of liquor and you'll be all right.
October 17, 2010
The story is told in a leisurely fashion which makes this film quite humdrum.
September 13, 2010
Un film magnifique sur la vie dans un petit village du Québec dans les années 50 (il me semble).
Le rythme narratif, assez lent, est rythmé par la beauté des paysages et par une musique superbe.
Les acteurs sonnent juste; l'histoire très touchante.
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2010
This movie is from both the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival and it Spine No. 438 in the Criterion Collection. Its about life in a Small Quebec Village around Christmas time, pretty much features a 12 year old boy living with his Uncle, a cute story, I'll give it 4 Stars
February 3, 2010
Le meilleur film canadien de tous les temps selon... les canadiens! Pour une fois que je suis d'accord avec les voisins avec un albertain..
Bref, Mon Oncle Antoine a le don de rendre nostalgique n'importe quel québécois. L'hiver, la neige et les tempêtes, le mononcle qui parle joual et qui se saoule le soir de Noël. Le film est directement tiré du terroir québécois, parfois même on ne croit plus voir une fiction mais bien une sorte de documentaire.
L'univers de fête de vieux films comme la Guerre de Tuques (plus récent), viennent chercher cette magie des fêtes enneigées et ses souvenirs enfouis dessous.
½ January 2, 2010
Irrésistible, sympathique, mais surtout, poignant.
September 25, 2006
Je n'irais pas jusqu'à dire que c'est LE film québécois mais il s'agit certes d'un film clé de l'histoire du cinéma au Québec. Bons jeux d'acteurs particulièrement pour le jeune Jacques Gagnon.
½ August 3, 2009
In 1986, Claude Jutra's body was found in the St. Lawrence River. Jutra had been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's, and his death is expected to have been a suicide. Now, I hate to start off on such a dour note, but it's hard to ignore the immense amount of lost potential from the extraordinarily talented director. "Mon Oncle Antoine" is considered his masterpiece, and it is so beloved, in fact, that it is often hailed the greatest film to ever come out of Canada. We should mourn the death of the creative talent, but meanwhile recognize that he left a legacy so profound (with only five films to his name) that he's continued to garner extraordinary levels of recognition over twenty years after his death.

The film is a sort of slice-of-life picture that takes place in an asbestos mining town in Quebec sometime during the early 1940's. It's a humble working class town with miners unrightfully taken advantage of by the American mine owners. This critique is covered in the very beginning minutes of the film in order to establish a setting, but from there the film goes from something more personal than political.

Benoit (Jacques Gagnon) is the wide-eyed orphan that takes center stage. He's 15-years-old and lives with his Uncle Antoine (Jean Duceppe) and Aunt Cecile (Olivette Thibault). The family owns a general store in town, and Uncle Antoine also works as the town's undertaker. Benoit, who serves as an assistant, begins to develop an attraction to Carmen (Lyne Champagne), a young girl who works at the store. It's not only Benoit who has his sights set on Carmen, however, as Fernand (Claude Jutra), another employee of the store, pursues her despite being twice her age.

The main action of the film is a rather unforgettable sequence. On the night before Christmas, a boy not much older than Benoit dies in a nearby town. Antoine heads out to retrieve the body with Benoit. The journey is marvelously filmed - it's a surreal struggle against a blizzard in a completely enveloping white landscape.

Something about "Mon Oncle Antoine" didn't quite work for me. The film feels very cold (no pun intended) and calculated, and I didn't develop any sort of connection with any of the people in town. The performances are good, but the film never seems to come alive. That being said, however, I was fascinated by the brilliant cinematography and direction, and was entertained throughout, albeit unattached.
½ July 1, 2009
Chef d'oeuvre from Jutras
½ April 15, 2009
Un classique du cinema quebecois.
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