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The Conquest (2011)



Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 7

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 799

My Rating

Movie Info

The Conquest chronicles the volatile right-leaning Nicolas Sarkozy's startling rise to become President of France and the emotional and psychological stakes involving the conquest of power. On the day the diminutive Sarkozy conquered his ultimate ambition, his wife who for twenty years had struggled to pull the man she loved from the shadow into the light walked out on him for another man. -- (C) Music Box



Patrick Rotman

Apr 10, 2012


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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (8)

The Sarkozy story glistens, snakelike.

June 19, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The dialogue is punchy, but the film lacks visual personality, and the insights into Sarkozy and France as a whole don't cut very deep.

March 7, 2012 Full Review Source: The Atlantic
The Atlantic
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"The Conquest" is like a French restaurant that serves small portions of tart appetizers and calls them freedom fries, yet begrudgingly we must salute the gall.

February 24, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Comment (1)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Too often ... the jaunty, overeager background music seems to be underscoring jokes the action doesn't provide.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Sarkozy seems to mean exactly what he says, even when he's lying for his cause, and Podalydès has the skill to demonstrate that.

January 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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The film is a vehement drama and a fitfully amusing snark fest set to Nicola Piovani's jaunty circus music. It winds up only half-succeeding at both.

January 5, 2012 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Conquest does not aspire to Shakespearean heights (press notes to the contrary) but remains more on the level of a well-made movie of the week...

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Playback:stl

Maybe a documentary would have done the job better.

January 9, 2012 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

The performances are convincing, but American audiences may find little to care about in the Gallic-specific backstage machinations of Sarkozy's ascendancy.

December 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Denis Podalydès seems to be more like Nicolas Sarkozy than the president himself is this political tragi-comedy.

November 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

This delicious satire daring to depict current French President Nicolas Sarkozy's recent rise to power is a real upscale art-house pleaser.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A glimpse of the glory and the loss in the rise to power of Nicholas Sarkozy, the president of France.

November 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for The Conquest

As Nicholas Sarkozy(Denis Podalydes) wakes up on election day in 2007, it starts out well enough as he wins the vote in New York and Israel. But he is still worrying about the whereabouts of his wife Cecilia(Florence Pernel) and more importantly whether or not she will be voting with him. However, that is nothing compared to five years previously when President Jacques Chirac(Bernard Le Coq), feeling Sarkozy would only lose in a national election due to his conservative politics, chooses Dominique de Villepin(Samuel Labarthe) to be Prime Minister, leaving the Ministry of Interior to Sarkozy.

"The Conquest" seeks to dramatize Sarkozy's rise to power by also undermining him by showing that the only way he got elected was in the media's preference of personality over policy. While possibly not wrong, it is a neat trick that the movie never quite pulls off, as it also falls into the same trap by mostly avoiding politics except by mentioning Sarkozy is pro-American.(Which I guess might be the same as being pro-French here in the States, I suppose.) As far as being satire, not much, except for the jaunty soundtrack and one masterful shot that starts with Sarkozy eating alone, before panning to the press who then rush off to cover Villepin on the beach. The only irony comes when Chirac says the socialists will never win an election in France. Who knew? Plus, Podalydes gives one of those performances usually seen on Saturday Night Live where a performer does an impression by picking on a singular personal tic and then hammering it into the bedrock.
July 24, 2013
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • The Conquest (La conquete) (DE)
  • The Conquest (La conquête) (UK)
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