To Be and to Have (Etre et Avoir) Reviews

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Michael Booth
Denver Post
Top Critic
January 23, 2004

At times, it feels as stultifying as watching paint dry, without the recompense of sniffing fumes.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Shlomo Schwartzberg
Boxoffice Magazine
September 19, 2003

Fails to do justice to its potentially fascinating subject.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
October 23, 2003

To Be and To Have works in the grandest tradition of documentary filmmaking -- it keeps company with a small, specific place going about its business, and from it parses the whole world.

Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star
October 23, 2003

You wish it would have been a little more ambitious.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Donald Munro
Fresno Bee
February 13, 2004

It isn't just an ode to teaching -- it's a lesson in growing up.

| Original Score: A-
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
November 1, 2003

Inspiring and beautiful.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Anton Bitel
Movie Gazette
October 28, 2003

Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
Nick Schager
Lessons of Darkness
May 4, 2005

The most unvarnished cinematic portrait of childhood I've ever seen.

Full Review | Original Score: A-
Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
October 23, 2003

An unhurried model of nonfiction filmmaking and a vision of life at its most persuasively humanistic.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
December 1, 2003

In its discussion of the natural, essential roles of learning and teaching in life, Ętre et Avoir is an elegantly shot, eloquently stated, first-class report.

Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
February 2, 2004

More often than not you may find yourself unexpectedly smiling.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Joe Baltake
Sacramento Bee
June 4, 2004

One of those rare movies that works as a humbling experience.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
October 8, 2002

A wonderful French documentary about a diligent teacher in a one-room classroom who revels in those magical moments when learning yields insight and delight.

Laura Clifford
Reeling Reviews
May 6, 2003

Philibert and his crew remain invisible throughout most of the this film's running time letting a way of life that is surely short-lived speak for itself.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
May 13, 2003

The fly-on-the-wall method used to document rural French school life is a refreshing departure from the now more prevalent technique of the docu-makers being a visible part of their work.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Kent Turner
Film-Forward.com
April 20, 2004

As touching as Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), this is an excellent companion to Spellbound, another beguiling documentary about children.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
May 4, 2004

This is a film that all aspiring teachers should see, as well as veteran teachers who might have lost track of what teaching is all about.

Full Review | Original Score: A
A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic
October 24, 2002

As quiet, patient and tenacious as Mr. Lopez himself, who approaches his difficult, endless work with remarkable serenity and discipline.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
Top Critic
January 18, 2003

At once a testament to the divine calling of education and a demonstration of the painstaking process of imparting knowledge.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
Top Critic
September 16, 2003

The magical dynamic we witness, of recitations and math problems and disciplinary chats and vocabulary drills, all of it performed with exacting sympathy and focus, is genuine to the touch.

Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile
October 18, 2008

Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
Top Critic
October 16, 2003

Lisa Nesselson
Variety
Top Critic
June 18, 2009


Guardian
July 8, 2003


St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
January 31, 2004


Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
July 21, 2005


Time Out
Top Critic
January 26, 2006

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