35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum) (2008)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: This slow-moving French family drama is rich, complex, subtle and emotionally eloquent.

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Movie Info

Time and romantic attraction threaten to sour a family relationship in this drama from writer and director Claire Denis. Lionel (Alex Descas) is a middle-aged widower who makes his living driving a train and shares an apartment with his twentysomething daughter, Joséphine (Mati Diop). Lionel and Joséphine have a warm and caring relationship, and while it's not Lionel's nature to say very much, his affection for his daughter is clear. Lionel's on-and-off girlfriend Gabrielle (Nicole Dogue) and their footloose friend Noé (Grégoire Colin) live in the same building, and together the four have fallen into a casual family relationship. However, when Lionel's close friend and fellow driver René (Julieth Mars Toussaint) announces he's retiring, Lionel becomes painfully aware that he's not as young as he once was, and realizes how much he depends on his daughter. This knowledge sets Lionel on edge when Joséphine's friendship with Noé begins to evolve into a romantic relationship. 35 Rhums (aka 35 Shot of Rum) received its North American premiere at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival.

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Critic Reviews for 35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum)

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (15)

Claire Denis, an acclaimed French director, makes films that defy the rules of Hollywood.

Feb 11, 2010 | Rating: 4/4

It's a beautiful picture but very quietly so, and definitely not for the ADHD set.

Jan 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Modest in scope but very sure, Rum goes down smoothly indeed.

Jan 22, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Celebrated French filmmaker Claire Denis is a master of atmosphere and immersion.

Jan 22, 2010 | Rating: 4.5/5

I've seen films where superheroes shift alliances, and I only yawned. What matters is not the scope of a story, it's the depth.

Jan 21, 2010 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Don't miss this one.

Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum)

½

while it's lovely, it's the least impressive denis film i've seen yet

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

It's quite pleasant once in a while to see a French modern day drama where the main characters don't jabber on endlessly about their thoughts and feelings. It's also quite refreshing to see a nearly all-black cast without making a big deal of it one way or another. Here the dynamics of a super-close father and daughter plus their would-be partners is all shown thrown through the mundane habils of everyday life, and intimacies and glances rather than histrionics. Not a whole heap happens, which might be disappointing to some, but if you're more interested in character than action, then there's much to enjoy in this story of an extended family's unwanted but inevitable change.

Lesley N
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

½

Daughter loves father dearly , repeat to close. Now I'm no slouch with plots but I struggled to work out who was who in the supporting cast and how they were interrelated. Such willful obfuscation may be intended but it ruined things for me.

Gordon Anderson
Gordon Anderson

Super Reviewer

½

What "35 Shots of Rum" lacks in story, it more than makes up for with a melancholic atmosphere full of lonely people, especially Lionel(Alex Descas) and his daughter Josephine(Mati Diop), a university student. She is driving him nuts with her constantly taking care of him, even as he is unwilling to talk about the past in the present day as he moves himself and transports others towards an uncertain future in his job as a subway driver and his friend Gabrielle(Nicole Dogue) does in her taxi. And then there is Lionel's co-worker Rene(Julieth Mars Toussaint) who gets three gifts at his retirement party, two are traditional and an iPod. Regardless, he is unsure of what to do next, no longer one of the anonymous people who keep multicultural Paris moving. In point of fact, the movie loses something when it moves temporarily away from Paris to tie up a couple of loose ends, going on a little too long.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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