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Private Fears in Public Places (Coeurs) (2006)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 66
Fresh: 52 | Rotten: 14

The premise isn't anything new, but director Alain Resnais' attention to detail and smooth camerawork gives this movie a delicate edge.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 6

The premise isn't anything new, but director Alain Resnais' attention to detail and smooth camerawork gives this movie a delicate edge.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 4,890

My Rating

Movie Info

A handful of characters struggle to hold on to relationships with the people they care for in this collaboration between playwright Alan Ayckbourn and filmmaker Alain Resnais. Dan (Lambert Wilson) has recently finished up a hitch in the Army, but rather than deal with his emotional issues, Dan prefers to get drunk. While he barely communicates with his girlfriend, Nicole (Laura Morante), she's convinced they will still marry and opts to ignore his obvious problems. Lionel (Pierre Arditi) is a



Jean-Michel Ribes

Aug 7, 2007

IFC Films

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All Critics (69) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (14) | DVD (6)

What reaches us, most of all, are the hidden, unmet longings that keep the film's Parisian characters from finding true happiness.

October 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The tenderness with which Resnais observes their efforts makes for genuinely enchanting entertainment.

June 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Private Fears suffers from [director Alain] Resnais' inability to open it up and give it the look and pulse of a film.

June 15, 2007 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Resnais shapes affecting performances from a polished cast. He creates a warm, comic melancholy.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Resnais has always been an expressionist, using his settings and compositions to evoke the inner states of his characters. Here, tying expressionism to social critique, he becomes an improbable but unmistakable blood brother of Carl Dreyer.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film about love and blunders done from the perspective of age, crafted by writer Alan Ayckbourn, 68, and director Alain Resnais, 85. Our younger directors and screenwriters should show this much brilliance and feeling.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A graceful roundelay of disconnection

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

What makes Private Fears so extraordinary is not just how it completely upends the expectations that have come to seem inherent in such a structure, but how Resnais constantly pushes the boundaries of his, well, let's call it visual depiction.

January 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Premiere Magazine
Premiere Magazine

There is a different side to everyone in Alain Resnais' enigmatic film about six strangers whose Parisian lives randomly intersect.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A gentle look at the pain of loneliness that almost all of us feel from time to time.

September 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

A feast for the eyes.

September 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Warm and wry, funny and sad, cute and complicated.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Not one he'll be remembered for, but a cut above.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

While there's a quirky humour at work, the overall mood is of sadness, eloquently, if repetitively, expressed.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: thelondonpaper

Private Fears is so fluently made that its edginess only gradually becomes evident. It's both funny and sad, without underlining anything, and the playing is as good as you would expect from Resnais's regulars.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Ayckbourn's play might have made frothy fun of this comedie humaine, on screen this feels a poor, airless thing.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

This French film based on a play by Scarborough's finest Sir Alan Ayckbourn is best described as a little bit pedestrian.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

Quiet desperation is an emotion you'll probably feel as you wait for the movie to end.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

The theatrical, colour-coded sets, graceful camerawork and scene-bridging snowfall motif create a quasi-fairytale feel. But it's the beautifully tuned ensemble acting that infuses this funny, sad treat with real humanist heft.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

No one would argue that this slight six-hander is one of Resnais's greatest movies, but it's far from an embarrassment, and even its strained comic business is enclosed within a prevailing atmosphere of wistful resignation.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Neither comic, nor tragic, nor tragicomic, the movie manages to be entirely inconsequential, gesturing at emotional truths which it is quite unable to embody.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Although now well into his eighties, Resnais brings an elegance and lightness of touch to this romantic roundelay - it's not the most profound musing on life and love, but it's eminently watchable.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Beautifully judged ensemble pieces.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: BBC

An insightful reflection on relationships and solitude.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Resnais and his superb cast have poured their hearts into this film adaptation and anyone seeking mature entertainment should search for this gem.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Private Fears in Public Places (Coeurs)

Uneven but beautifully crafted study of the modern malaise of trying to connect. Not all the scenarios ring true but they are skillfully entwined with an affecting score.
April 3, 2008
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Private Fears in Public Places" starts with Thierry(Andre Dussollier), an estate agent who lives with his younger sister, Gaelle(Isabelle Carre), showing an apartment to Nicole(Laura Morante) which she rejects because it is not large enough. Her fiance, Dan(Lambert Wilson), just thrown out of the army, wants a study just like his dad's. Dan spends most of his time indulging in two activites - sleeping and drinking. The latter he does in the company of his favorite bartender, Lionel(Pierre Arditi). Lionel lives with his elderly, invalid father who is so nasty that Lionel goes through caretakers on an hourly basis. The latest is Charlotte(Sabine Azema) who works with Thierry during the day.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Of all the things I expected from an Alain Resnais film, a pleasnt day at the theatre is the least of them, but that's what "Private Fears in Public Places" is similar to. All of the characters are entirely sympathetic but Gaelle and Nicole are the least well-defined and come close to being simple plot devices. Overall, this is a diverting and well-acted movie about loneliness and how one can be lonely even in a crowd or with someone. It is also about why one should be very, very careful about which videotapes one reuses. [/font]
May 13, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

I felt unattached from what should have been a touching and moving drama theatrical piece. Was the title intended to be Curse?
July 21, 2008

Super Reviewer

Middle-aged cast sorts out relationship problems so convincing, it's a bore.
September 17, 2007

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Coeurs - Herzen (DE)
  • Private Fears In Public Places (Coeurs) (UK)
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