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The Illusionist (L'illusionniste) Reviews

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hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2013
A magician and a cleaning girl travel and attempt to make a life at his dying art.
Predominantly silent, this animated film has moments of charm, but mostly its slow pace and lack of substance makes for a dull time. The final moment, with the illusionist's self-abnegation, wreaks of over-sentimentality, and while I might attempt to identify with it, I do so in only most maudlin way.
Artistically, the animation is anti-realistic and cartoonish. It's hard to take the themes as seriously as the director would wish considering how the medium is the message in this case.
Overall, though it might strike a few fancies, mine is not one of them.
YodaMasterJedi
YodaMasterJedi

Super Reviewer

September 4, 2012
three stars
Rubia

Super Reviewer

October 12, 2010
For its beauty and my expectations, high expectations, "L'illusionniste" is one of those films you just have to watch in a movie theater. Unable to do it, though, I had to go against Tati's 'principles' and watch it as only our modern time allows: the big screen was replaced by my laptop's one. Convinced that it was the reason of my disappointment, I watched it for the second time. The very beginning makes me smile. I like its humor. I can see Chomet's touch here and there. Visually speaking, there's no other way than say that "L'illusionniste" is perfect. However, something is missing.

I could imagine "My Dog Tulip", amazing animation entirely supported by narration, without any words and it would be more interesting. Originality, that's the word. The weirdness, the chaos, the freshness of "Triplets of Belleville" gives place to an accessible and bland narrative. I like a lot the idea of the old illusionist trying to survive in a modern world of images and sounds. I like a lot the idea of two strangers who don't speak the same language trying to communicate somehow. I 've already seen myself in a similar situation, walking with a small dictionary in my bag, point out words I didn't dare to talk afraid of the wrong pronunciation. I like how such relationships can develop, but was it really necessary Alice to become a Barbie and meets prince charming? The end can be melancholic, but it's still a Disney fairy tale.

After reading Richard Tatischeff 's letter, I felt relieved. He says how in the original script "the young girl attracts the attention of a handsome young man who exposes the conjurer's magic as fraudulent, nothing more than cheap tricks, illusions created to entertain an audience. Unable to hold onto her affections once his charade has been exposed the script concludes with the conjurer disappearing off into the sunset free of his deceit having as he always known he would lost the affections of the young girl to youth and the vibrancy of the city once she was able to see beyond his theatrics" . That was exactly my point. I was not convinced that Alice believed his illusions were real, even so, she is more amazed by what she can gain from his magic than the magic itself. She only discovers the truth with Tatischeff's note that "magicians do not exist". He would, of course, lose her for the young boy, but I'm sure he wouldn't lose Alice's affections even after "his charade had been exposed" because she is, like the boy, a good (in both meanings) fairy tale character.

Something like that - "throughout his career Tati was often quoted as saying that his Hulot was just a character he had created and he himself was a very different person to what was seen on screen. The very title, l'Illusionniste illustrates how Tati was aware at how his public persona was a veil that contradicted the real man"- would be quite interesting. However, after watching "Mon Oncle", I have to say that Alice is quite possible the way she is portrayed. Tati would be more whimsical and not so emotive as Chomet is here, but I can picture Monsieur Hulot taking several jobs to dress up the neighbor's young daughter if in the same situation that Tatischeff and Alice were.





RCCLBC
RCCLBC

Super Reviewer

December 15, 2010
As with The Triplets Of Belleville, I was immediately enveloped by the story and the world presented here and the (for all intents and purposes) "silent film" style of story telling.

My modern (read: jaded) sensibilities had me thrown off at first. I kept thinking how can this old man not be freaked out that this young girl ran away to be with him? Surely people would question his intentions?

But if you can get past that and watch the story unfold under the premise of a kindly Father trying to live up to the expectations of his (in this case adopted) daughter...it is a beautiful story and really quite sad.

The animation and music is delightful and really make the whole experience that much more magical. While this is not an animated film that would hold a (normal) childs interest for very long, I think most adults will appreciate the many layers of charm.
JonathanHutchings
JonathanHutchings

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2011
The story as a whole is a little vapid (which critics of this film point to as a fatal flaw when compared to Tati's original screenplay), but The Illusionist features one of the most moving, heartfelt and poignant ending scenes I've seen in a while -- especially considering the story behind the screenplay. Anyone interested in the great, yet troubled career of Jacques Tati should see this immediately.
Jan Marc M

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2011
A charming animation that delights with the delicate and meaningful relationship of a selfless magician and a young girl, The Illusionist is a visual and aural minimalism at best. Lovely.
Jay H

Super Reviewer

August 14, 2011
With beautiful animation and a somber story, 2010's "The Illusionist" is a lovely film. The film follows a struggling old illusionist, Tatischeff, as he's followed into the city by a young girl, Alice. As the old man and the girl live their lives together in a platonic, grandfatherly relationship, both slowly change and learn more about themselves and life. "The Illusionist" is touching, engaging, and wholly remarkable.
Kevin C

Super Reviewer

May 24, 2011
Despite the wondrous and magical hand-drawn animation, The Illusionist is by no means an uplifting film. This film delves into the misery of a dying art(s) and into the portrait of a man whose life is crumbling as a new wave of entertainment is flourishing. Beautifully executed and a film with effort, passion, and thought gushing from the screen.
neverteaseaweasel
neverteaseaweasel

Super Reviewer

August 12, 2010
The thing about The Illusionist that I'm most struck by in the end is that it looks ever so much better than it actually was. However, that's a horrible way to open as the film really is good. It just looked so much better! Still, the story is sweet and charming; the characters and likable and the whole thing carries a low-key whimsical atmosphere. The animation is beautiful and fluid; the music, as well. The whole thing is incredibly sweet and sentimental, and for once, that's not a bad thing. It works incredibly well.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

May 31, 2011
It's quite sad and very poignant but The Illusionist is such a heartfelt story, animated beautifully by Sylvain Chomet. The follow up to Belleville Rendez-Vous is a long time coming but well worth the wait. Humorous, touching and very, very magical. The Illusionist is something very special indeed.
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

August 24, 2010
It's been far too long since I've seen a movie with as much charming detail and personality as The Illusionist, an absolutely gorgeous traditionally animated tale about an aging traveling magician and a young companion that he meets and who accompanies him to Edinburgh, Scotland.

The art style is wonderful, with memorable, unique-looking characters and beautiful backdrops. The music is great, as well. There's very little dialogue, and much of that is in French. The story is quite easy to follow from the actions and expressions of the character, but this is definitely a movie that will interest older people more than it will younger kids.

I highly recommend The Illusionist. It's a bittersweet, lovely movie that was obviously made with a lot of care.
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

April 29, 2011
This one made me angry. Just because the animation is top-notch doesn't excuse the rather insipid story.
366weirdmovies
366weirdmovies

Super Reviewer

March 24, 2011
An out-of-fashion magician in the 1960s can't compete with rock and roll and finds himself playing to smaller and smaller audiences; he meets a girl who really believes he can perform magic, and she tags along with him as his career continues to decline. Lovingly animated by Sylvain Chomet (THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE) from an unproduced script by Jacques Tati in a nearly silent-film style; Chomet puts so much love into the noble project that you desperately want it to work out, but it fails to completely satisfy. The slapstick sequences are underdeveloped and never reach real anarchy (for example, so much more could have been done with the illusionist's incompetence when he tires to wash a car). The film fares a little better when it aims at poignancy, but the ending is just sad without being cathartic---it plays as flat-out defeatist rather than melancholy. Worth seeing, but I advise muting your expectations.
3niR
3niR

Super Reviewer

March 16, 2011
It's slow and can be boring at a times. Not bad though.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

February 12, 2011
a young washer woman stifled with the difficulty of living meets an old stage magician who appears to float through existence and so she hopefully adopts him as her protector, a assignment that's only doomed. set in 1959 europe, this decidedly french tale shimmers in the tawdry regret of living, a serenade sung in a bordello at closing time. and visually so full ....
the subtext to the film, the key actually, is that the great jacques tati wrote it as a goodbye to his own daughter. you HAVE seen jacques tati's films, haven't you?
Everett J

Super Reviewer

February 16, 2011
This is up for best animation movie at the Oscars this year, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Well it's only 76 minutes long, and I only got 35 into it and I had zero interest. It's very well drawn(yeah it's a hand drawn animation movie, not CGI!),but it's basically a silent french movie with little, if any dialogue. I'm sure a lot of people will, and do, like it, but it just wasn't for me at all. Despicable Me should have been nominated over this.
Fernando Rafael Q

Super Reviewer

December 24, 2010
One of the three nominees this year for 'Best Animated Feature' at the Academy Awards, Sylvain Chomet's L'Illusionniste is a near-silent film, partially based on filmmaker Jacques Tati. Funny, heartfelt as well as heartbreaking, this practically dialog-free film features both the best animation and one of the best scores (also by Chomet) in recent years. Not the most entertaining film ever, but not exactly boring. Just quiet and contemplative. Exquisitely stripped-down.
Jason S

Super Reviewer

February 14, 2011
I love the look of this movie. From the locations to the characters, each piece has life. The story is a strange one though as it's not really a happy story but it's a real one. Each character has their faults and heart but it doesn't try and force a happy ending for everyone.
With it's minimal dialogue you have to work out the story through the visuals and it allows for each person to see the film differently.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

February 14, 2011
a truly wonderful animated film, that despite being new already feels like a classic due to the tati screenplay, and the wonderful atmosphere of the film. essentially no dialogue, but quite a bit of story is told through the experiences of the characters and the brilliant animation. the landscapes were inspiring, the train rides tranquil, and the characters full of life. the story has depressing elements, but it is still a joy to watch. the title character is pushed from his formerly glorious profession by the rise of young rock stars and plays to smaller and smaller crowds until he finds himself playing in a pub in Scotland that is just introducing electricity into their village. he meets a woman who is enchanted by this magic that she perceives to be real, and she develops a father/daughter relationship with the magician, who must deal with the death of his trade while caring for her. its not just magic, but we see the decline of other stage performers as well, leaving us with an imprint of cultural shift in the 1950's. i cant wait to see the film again so that i can soak in the smaller details i may have missed, but even now i left this film with quite a bit to think about.
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