La Cérémonie (A Judgement in Stone) (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

La Cérémonie (A Judgement in Stone) (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

La Cérémonie (A Judgement in Stone) Photos

Movie Info

This French tragicomedy takes place in a remote chateau owned by a wealthy family. To help keep it up, they hire an introverted young woman as a maid. She ends up changing their lives forever. Sophie, the rigid and socially awkward maid with a mysterious secret, is hired by the self-assured and fashionable Catherine Lelievre who lives in the manse with her wealthy husband Georges and their teen-age son. Occasionally the elitist little family is visited by her husband's 20-year old daughter from another marriage. When not working, Sophie is dishwater dull and spends her free time watching television and eating chocolate. Though she is an excellent housekeeper and competent cook, Sophie becomes tense and reticent when asked to perform certain other basic tasks. While working at the house, Sophie becomes friends with the impertinent, outspoken busybody Jeanne who runs the post office. Jeanne is utterly despised by Georges who believes that she regularly snoops in his mail. Like Sophie, Jeanne also masks a dark secret, both of which are revealed when they become involved with a charity project for the local church. In the end, the revelation of Jeanne's secret gets her fired.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Criterion Collection


Critic Reviews for La Cérémonie (A Judgement in Stone)

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (13)

As the movers and shakers of this peculiar saga, Bonnaire and Huppert are unnerving and fascinating to watch together.

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

Elegant, brisk and lethal in its assault on the obliviousness of the haute bourgeoise.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Dire, tense, unpredictable, and, ultimately, satisfying.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Besides the unconvincing shift of psychic gears, the picture has no theme, no resonance, no point.

January 1, 2000
The New Republic
Top Critic

A tight, beautifully contained thriller that plunges four wonderful actors ... into dangerous territory.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Watching the film, you think maybe you know where it's headed. Or maybe not. Not every ceremony ends in the way we anticipate.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for La Cérémonie (A Judgement in Stone)

Fair. Isabelle Huppert won herself a couple of Best Actress Awards by this, but she's more a supporting role to Sandrine Bonnaire, literally.


I feel bad that i started this as my introduction to Claude Chabrol because I absolutely love this film and it'll be a tough one to top. The building suspense and uneasy tension is masterfully done. It would be too easy to make the family a group of evil slave drivers, instead they're just bunch of regular rich pricks. Everyone is brilliant but Huppert and Bonnaire are magnificent and the scenes they share are downright creepy. This films succeeds everywhere Haneke's 'Funny Games' failed.

Paul Pastoor
Paul Pastoor

After only my first Claude Chabrol film I can see why he is sometimes known as the French Alfred Hitchcock. La Cérémonie is based on the Ruth Rendell book "A Judgement in Stone", I'm not going to reveal too much about the plot because this is one of those films which really does benefit from knowing as little as possible. Instead just watch two of the great French actresses of recent times as the story builds with tension to the chilling finale.

Emily B.
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

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