A Bag of Marbles (Un sac de billes) (2018)

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This heartwarming adaptation of Joseph Joffo's enduring memoir tells the story of the Nazi occupation through the eyes of two young Jewish boys struggling to survive on their own. Paris, 1941: Joseph and Maurice are the sons of Roman, the local barber. At 10 and 12, the boys have so little understanding of the persecution of Jews that Joseph thinks nothing of swapping his yellow star for a bag of marbles. Despite their naiveté, Roman knows that their best chance to escape the Nazi roundup is to flee on their own to Vichy France, where their older brothers Albert and Henri have found safe haven. Always one false move from tragedy, these tenacious urchins survive on courage, ingenuity and more than a bit of cunning as they make their precarious way through France hoping to reunite with their family. More than anything, it's their brotherly bond that gets them through their ordeals. Patrick Bruel resonates as the Jewish family patriarch Roman, while newcomers Dorian Le Clech and Batyste Fleurial register an almost agonizing vulnerability as hapless innocents trying to outrun the barbarous machinery of war.

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Critic Reviews for A Bag of Marbles (Un sac de billes)

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (7)

This isn't the first film to try to deal with the horrors of the Holocaust from a child's perspective, but it's tricky material, and this one succeeds because it is direct and forthright.

Apr 12, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

For those ready to view it on its own terms, its gentle focus on family and persistence should go down easy.

Mar 23, 2018 | Full Review…

The great value of Christian Duguay's film is the degree to which it makes such a barbaric and bewildering chapter in human history comprehensible for young audiences.

Mar 23, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

"A Bag of Marbles" ("Un sac de billes") turns Nazi-occupied France into an obstacle course for two young Jewish boys on the run, and their plight into slickly sentimental thriller material for all of us.

Mar 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Remains affecting in spite of its stickiest impulses, and should continue to please audiences without making any claims for classic status within a heavily populated genre.

Mar 22, 2018 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The writing and its attendant characterizations have an undeniable integrity, the particular historical detail offered by the story is not common in films about this era, and the lead performers are moving.

Mar 22, 2018 | Full Review…

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