A Very Long Engagement (2004)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A well-crafted and visually arresting drama with a touch of whimsy.

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Movie Info

Audrey Tautou, who rose to international stardom with the title role in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's worldwide smash Amà (C)lie, reunites with the director for this drama, set during the darkest days of World War I and its immediate aftermath. Mathilde (Tautou) is a pretty but frail young women who was left with a bad leg after a childhood bout with polio. Mathilde lives in a small French village with her Aunt Bà (C)nà (C)dicte (Chantal Neuwirth) and Uncle Sylvain (Dominique Pinon), and is engaged to marry Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), the son of a lighthouse keeper who is fighting with the army near the German front. Manech is one of five soldiers who have been accused of injuring themselves in order to be sent home; in order to discourage similar behavior among their comrades, Manech and the other soldiers are sentenced to death, and the condemned men are marched into the no man's land between the French and German lines, where they are certain to be killed. Mathilde receives word of Manech's death, but in her heart she believes that if the man she loved had been killed, she would know it and feel it. Convinced he's still alive somewhere, Mathilde hires a private detective (Ticky Holgado) shortly after the end of the war, and together they set out to find the missing Manech. Jodie Foster appears in a supporting role as a Polish expatriate living in France. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Rating:
R (for violence and sexuality)
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Audrey Tautou
as Mathilde
Jean-Pierre Becker
as Lieutenant Esperanza
Dominique Bettenfeld
as Ange Bassignano
Clovis Cornillac
as Benoit Notre Dame
Marion Cotillard
as Tina Lombardi
Jean-Pierre Darroussin
as Benjamin Gordes
Jodie Foster
as Elodie Gordes
Julie Depardieu
as Véronique Passavant
Jean-Claude Dreyfus
as Commandant Lavrouye
Albert Dupontel
as Celestin Poux
André Dussollier
as Rouviéres
Ticky Holgado
as Germain Pire
Tcheky Karyo
as Captain Favourier
Jerome Kircher
as Bastoche
Denis Lavant
as Six-Soux
Chantal Neuwirth
as Bénédicte
Jean-Paul Rouve
as The Postman
Michel Vuillermoz
as L'il Louis
Rufus
as A Breton
Michel Chalmeau
as The Priest of Milly
Rodolphe Pauly
as Jean Desrochelles
Xavier Maly
as Chardolot's Friend
Myriam Roustan
as The Cafe Prostitute
Thierry Gibault
as Lieutenant Estrangin
Sandrine Rigaud
as Mariette Notre Dame
Marc Faure
as The Prison Director
Gilles Masson
as The Murdered Officer
Till Bahlmann
as German Prisoner
Tony Gaultier
as Gravedigger
Marc Robert
as Soldier
Pierre Heitz
as Soldier
Eric Debrosse
as Soldier
Philippe Beautier
as Joker On The Train
Gérald Weingand
as Conned Solider
Luc Songzoni
as Conned Soldier
Xavier Berlioz
as Orderly
Marcel Philippot
as Bourgeois Couple
Pascale Lievyn
as Bourgeois Couple
Jean-Claude Lecoq
as German Machine Gunner
Stéphanie Gesnel
as Prostitute
Frédérique Bel
as Prostitute
Alexandre Caumartin
as Stretcher Bearer
Eric Defosse
as Stretcher Bearer
Gaspar Claus
as Stabbed German
Jean Philippe Beche
as Geroges Cornu
Anaïs Durand
as Hélène Prie
Louis-Marie Audubert
as Gravedigger
Marc Robert
as Soldier
Eric Fraticelli
as Menacing Corsican
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Critic Reviews for A Very Long Engagement

All Critics (144) | Top Critics (37)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 26, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | September 25, 2005
AV Club
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 16, 2005
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 27, 2004
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Tautou, as always, makes this an enchanting trip.

December 22, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Very Long Engagement

A young woman refuses to believe that her fiancee was killed in action in WWI and sets about finding out what happened to him and his comrades in their final days. The one thing you can count on from Jeunet is that you will be treated to a beautiful looking film and once again he does not disappoint. A Very Long Engagement is a visual feast with a score to match and complete with his usual ensemble cast of nicely played, likable eccentrics, this is a very difficult film to dislike. Although it does have its flaws. They mainly lie in the way that the romantic elements to the story and those concerning combat don't quite gel; I couldn't help thinking that I was actually watching two films spliced together. The investigation is also a little haphazard and unstructured and it just seemed that facts kept randomly coming to light without much in the way of narrative flow. Having said all that, it does have moments of genius and certain scenes are captivating. Audrey Tautou puts in another fine performance but Marion Cotillard virtually steals the film out from under her as a vengeful prostitute and I wish I'd seen a lot more of her character. As a whole it doesn't quite fit together and as a result lacks the emotional resonance it could have had, but the good far, far outweighs the bad.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

An engaging and emotional film, which sweeps you into the world of its characters, and has striking cinematography. In fact the visuals are the best thing about the film. It's a visual powerhouse of a film, mixing gritty visual conventions of the war genre with scenes of a more romantic visual style, both are done brilliantly. The Story and Characters are both interesting, and injected with a healthy amount of wit and humour. The writer has managed to perfectly blend various genres, devoting enough viewing time to each. The acting is a mixture of some performance which are almost cartoonishly ridiculous, and some which create deep 3D characters. This film is a brilliant blend of sad realism and enchanting fantasy. It creates its own world and characters, while at the same time reflecting ours. A bittersweet ending just adds to this theme. Is it worth watching? Yes it is. You're guaranteed an adventure of mixed emotions, and the challenge that the main character faces will keep you engaged and stop you from getting bored.

Joel Kelly
Joel Kelly

Super Reviewer

Indeed a very long and tedious engagement. In fact, it didn't engage me, but on the contrary, it began to bore me after a while. Simply not my cup of tea. Recommended for public in general, though.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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