Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 30


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,133
User image

Welcome Photos

Movie Info

Bilal, a 17-year-old Kurdish boy, has traveled through Middle East and Europe to join his girlfriend, freshly immigrated to England. But, his journey comes to an abrupt end when he is stopped on the French side of the Channel. Having decided to swim across, Bilal goes to the local swimming pool to train. There he meets Simon, a swimming instructor in the midst of a divorce. To impress his wife and win back her heart, Simon decides to risk everything by taking Bilal under his wing.

Watch it now


Vincent Lindon
as Simon Calmat
Audrey Dana
as Marion Calmat
Olivier Rabourdin
as Lieutenant Caratini
Mouafaq Rushdie
as Le père de Mina
Behi Djanati Atai
as La mère de Mina
Patrick Ligardes
as Le voisin de Simon
Blandine Pélissier
as Judge of Family Affairs
Gilles Masson
as Grader in Detention Center
Jean-Paul Comart
as le gradé chez Simon
View All

Critic Reviews for Welcome

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (4)

  • Puts you so completely into the shoes of a young man facing almost insurmountable obstacles that you feel a profound empathy not only for him but also for all who are ready to risk everything for the dream of a better life.

    May 7, 2010 | Rating: 4/5
  • [It] has its share of clichés and contrivances. Fortunately, compensation is provided by strong performances by veteran actor Vincent Lindon as the coach and newcomer Firat Ayverdi as the refugee.

    May 7, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Don't discount the pleasure of watching a weathered star breathe life into an otherwise banal film.

    May 5, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    David Fear

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Starting strong with its atmospheric immersion in the herd of immigrants killing time by the docks, Welcome quickly shrugs off credibility by equating Bilal's quest with Simon's angst over his recent divorce.

    May 4, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Such a melodramatic set-up is no way to win round viewers who aren't predisposed to sympathise with immigrants - or with gloomy middle-aged men.

    Nov 13, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • This is compassionate and humane film-making. While the story does sometimes lapse into cliché, the two beautifully judged central performances carry it through.

    Nov 6, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Welcome

  • Jun 13, 2012
    A Kurdish illegal immigrant to France enlists the help of a divorced swimming instructor to aid in his swim across the English Channel to his girlfriend. Ironically titled, <i>Welcome</i> is acting, writing, and directing at its finest. Every little detail in this film has a unique and poignant history, from Bilal's fear of plastic bags to the piece of jewelry Simon finds under the couch cushion. And the scenes last just long enough to make the film's point. There isn't a single wasted moment of connective tissue in this film, combining French cinema's unique penchant for subtlety with universally good storytelling. Vincent Lindon, whose work here and in <i>Mademoiselle Chambon</i> has a soulfulness not often found in other actors, gives a phenomenal performance as Simon, and Firat Ayverdi is very compelling. The film may be an argument for immigration reform in France (and across the world), but it's more about the costs and benefits of compassion and generosity. Simon actions put him in jeopardy, and even though he may be motivated by a desire to reunite with Marion, he comes to understand that being a good person in a cruel world may be its own reward despite the costs. Overall, <i>Welcome</i> is not to be missed, and Lindon is proving to be an exciting force in French film.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 06, 2012
    At the French port of Calais a group of immigrants from Kurdistan gather to try crossing somehow to England (why, I don't know ... stay in France, why not?) The authorities mass to stop them, of course. And so begins this light tale adrift in the churning waters of immigration. Clichès aplenty, but solid (if implausible) turns by the leads.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 17, 2011
    French drama about a swimming teacher & an illegal immigrant who wants to swim to England. Very watchable and quite educational too.
    Lesley N Super Reviewer
  • May 26, 2011
    Arriving at Calais after a perilous journey from Kudistan, 17 year-old Bilal(Firat Ayverdi) almost has his final destination of England in his sights, along with a reunion with Mina(Derya Ayverdi), telling her brother Mirko(Murat Subasi) that he will be there tomorrow. But like every other step on his journey, this is not an easy one, as he signs on with smugglers but panicks, getting everybody caught. Released on his own recognizance, Bilal decides as long as he will be in town for a while, he might as well learn how to swim, even getting lessons from Simon(Vincent Lindon), who figures out that Bilal is aiming to swim the English Channel. Even with a few slight missteps, the well-acted "Welcome" has quite an impact, tempering any sentimentality with a real world fatalism. As we get older, we come to realize what is possible and what is not.(Oh, the crazy things we do for love.) Of course, Bilal is too young to realize the difference but Simon has no excuse, having been crushed by the realization that life was not always going to be like it was when he was a swimming champion. His soon to be ex-wife Marion(Audrey Dana) no longer recoginizes the man she once loved.(I love that Marion is on screen before we realize that she will have an important part to play in the story.) As she strikes a spark in him with her passionate defense of immigrants(at one point, I thought he was just trying to get back in her pants), his activism ends up taking on an unpredictable life of its own with him either going all out or doing nothing at all. And that's the same for these immigrants in that they are either in motion or bottlenecked in Calais, a tragic situation also referenced in Michael Winterbottom's "In this World."
    Walter M Super Reviewer

Welcome Quotes

News & Features