The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe) Reviews

Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 17, 2011
| Original Score: 5/5
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
December 17, 2008
It's charged with nuance yet ultimately an exercise in compressed literary adaptation.
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Stephanie Zacharek
October 18, 2008
Maybe even Rivette himself is a little too delicate for this ferocious, intensely focused pair. But he's fascinated by them, and ultimately, he loves them.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 20, 2008
The everyday moviegoer will find it as impenetrable as its heroine. But if you vibrate to nuances of style, if you enjoy tension gathering strength beneath terrible restraint, if you admire great acting, then you will.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
June 19, 2008
The director guides the viewer through a sly consideration of near-sociopathic not-quite-lovers, one of whom finds refuge in religion, the other in romantic obsession.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 9, 2008
The Duchess of Langeais is a stately costume drama of wrenching passions expressed in courtly phrases.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
April 14, 2008
Jacques Rivette's Duchess of Langeais seems to me a nearly impeccable work of art -- beautiful, true, profound.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
April 10, 2008
It is the ultimate in movie as pane of glass, completely un-self-conscious of its own movieness but simply an intensely focused examination of human behavior on a narrative armature.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 28, 2008
Based on a Balzac story, Rivette's Duchess manages to be both old-fashioned in its settings and circumstances, and coolly modern in its view of thwarted passion and despair.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
March 21, 2008
The movie's satisfactions are subtle, but they run deep, and there are many.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
March 21, 2008
The Duchess of Langeais benefits from many New Wave innovations -- long, fluid takes and loosely organized improvisational scenes. Still, it feels like a curiously static entertainment.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 21, 2008
The film's a minuet fetishistically repeated until either the audience or the lovers go crazy. I'd say it was a tie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
March 7, 2008
A study in 19th-century European extremes, The Duchess of Langeais may put you off at first, but its playful tone could just as easily leave you pleasantly exhausted.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
March 3, 2008
In Jacques Rivette's remarkable The Duchess of Langeais, romantic devotion becomes a perverse kind of warfare, in which a lover who admits that he's in love loses the campaign.
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Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
February 29, 2008
After more than 50 years of idiosyncratic filmmaking, Rivette, who turns 80 on Saturday, is as intense and rigorous an artist as ever.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
February 28, 2008
In principle, anyone who loves his open-ended sense of film performance as adventure...ought to thrill to Rivette's latest film. So why did I spend most of The Duchess of Langeais...fighting to stay awake?
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Noel Murray
AV Club
February 22, 2008
One of Rivette's most accessible films.
| Original Score: B+
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
February 22, 2008
Exquisite void.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
February 22, 2008
Handsomely produced and featuring fine performances, the film will travel well to festivals and art houses where audiences respond to classy period pieces with a modern sensibility.
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Jan Stuart
February 21, 2008
The Duchess of Languor might be more evocative. Faithfully lifted from the pages of Honore de Balzac, Jacques Rivette's overlong, resplendently decorative drama takes on the phlegmatic air of its character.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
February 20, 2008
The gorgeous floorboards creak -- loudly -- in the veteran French director Jacques Rivette's fascinating drawing-room war of the sexes, The Duchess of Langeais.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Nathan Lee
Village Voice
February 20, 2008
The Duchess of Langeais contemplates an especially crazy case of l'amour fou.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
February 19, 2008
With the simplest of means, the director Jacques Rivette has cut a path to the heart of Balzac's The Duchess of Langeais.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
February 13, 2008
See it for the respectfully literal Balzac screen transcription. After all, I may have been wrong about Mr. Rivette all these years, and it would not be the first time.
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
December 28, 2007
The whole thing is compelling from start to finish; 'cruel ironies' doesn't even begin to describe it.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/6
Top Critic
Russell Edwards
July 14, 2007
Slowly but expertly depicts the jousting courtship of an ill-fated love affair between a Parisian socialite and a Napoleonic war hero.