Goodbye, Children (Au Revoir Les Enfants) Reviews

  • Feb 13, 2021

    Malle's greatest success in Au Revoir les Enfants is his establishment of perspective; for much of the film, the setting, characters, and plot are all limited to the boarding school lifestyle that would have been at the forefront of his protagonist's mind. There are intermittent glimpses of a larger world looming outside of Julien's field of vision, but they are only hinted at as secondary characters - soldiers dining in a stupor at a restaurant where he is reunited with his mother, for instance - but they are very much established as vague accessories to the atmosphere, until they all come crashing in at a pivotal moment where a greater world is revealed with devastating effect. My initial thought was that the characters and relationships were a bit simple, but thinking back it makes sense given the childlike, early adolescent point of view that the film establishes so clearly. Too many films take the tactic of using a child's perspective as a means of depicting a traumatic event, but Malle actually lends authenticity to the world rather than feeling condescending or cheap. Comparing this to the exuberant, positive philosophical musings of My Dinner with Andre certainly would seem to suggest a depth of character and visionary range that few directors can really be said to possess. (4/5)

    Malle's greatest success in Au Revoir les Enfants is his establishment of perspective; for much of the film, the setting, characters, and plot are all limited to the boarding school lifestyle that would have been at the forefront of his protagonist's mind. There are intermittent glimpses of a larger world looming outside of Julien's field of vision, but they are only hinted at as secondary characters - soldiers dining in a stupor at a restaurant where he is reunited with his mother, for instance - but they are very much established as vague accessories to the atmosphere, until they all come crashing in at a pivotal moment where a greater world is revealed with devastating effect. My initial thought was that the characters and relationships were a bit simple, but thinking back it makes sense given the childlike, early adolescent point of view that the film establishes so clearly. Too many films take the tactic of using a child's perspective as a means of depicting a traumatic event, but Malle actually lends authenticity to the world rather than feeling condescending or cheap. Comparing this to the exuberant, positive philosophical musings of My Dinner with Andre certainly would seem to suggest a depth of character and visionary range that few directors can really be said to possess. (4/5)

  • Aug 13, 2020

    History said without much fanfare !

    History said without much fanfare !

  • Mar 02, 2020

    The highest praise I can give this incredibly authentic ode to friendship is that I really knew that what I was watching is a semi-autobiographical film without knowing this fact before. It definitely doesn't bring anything new to the table when it comes to the way it explores its major theme in, but Malle's way of enriching his two lead characters through his sensitive direction in a most delicate, effortless and unindulgent way is more than enough to compensate for any of the film's shortcomings. (8.5/10)

    The highest praise I can give this incredibly authentic ode to friendship is that I really knew that what I was watching is a semi-autobiographical film without knowing this fact before. It definitely doesn't bring anything new to the table when it comes to the way it explores its major theme in, but Malle's way of enriching his two lead characters through his sensitive direction in a most delicate, effortless and unindulgent way is more than enough to compensate for any of the film's shortcomings. (8.5/10)

  • Feb 18, 2019

    Engaging from beginning to end, Au Revoir Les Enfants shows how stealthily evil acts can befall an innocent environment, irrationally plucking certain children out because they were born into Jewish families. The fact that all three boys met death in the concentration camps that same year put an end to childhood forever for anyone understanding this movie.

    Engaging from beginning to end, Au Revoir Les Enfants shows how stealthily evil acts can befall an innocent environment, irrationally plucking certain children out because they were born into Jewish families. The fact that all three boys met death in the concentration camps that same year put an end to childhood forever for anyone understanding this movie.

  • Aug 21, 2018

    Au Revoir les Enfants is the story of students at a French boarding school where parents are forced to send their kids during World War II in order to keep them safe from the bombings and battles in the major cities. While there were cultural differences that I found a bit odd, it was an accurate depiction of how young boys act to this day, particularly when there is no adult supervision around. I loved how it showed the gradual formation of friendships as well. Even when kids don’t like one another at first they can form a bond. It’s never something that boys would talk about, but we see it from the way they behave with one another. There are a number of scenes that show the development of the relationship between the two main characters, and I thought that made the rest of the movie work on a narrative and emotional level. The film is slow-moving, particularly because it takes the main character a long time to figure out what is happening. We can deduce what the priests are doing with young Bonnet early in the film, but it takes much longer for Julien to catch on. Once they have established the story I instantly knew the stakes, because it only takes a basic knowledge of WWII to understand. They utilize these stakes for some great climactic moments in the final act, and a devastating emotional scene or two in the end. I was quite impressed with the acting from these young boys, because they all did a great job and it’s typically a challenge to find even one good child actor. Au Revoir les Enfants is the kind of movie that I’m glad I watched, but I don’t know if I’ll watch again. It is a well-made film, though, and deserving of all the awards attention it received.

    Au Revoir les Enfants is the story of students at a French boarding school where parents are forced to send their kids during World War II in order to keep them safe from the bombings and battles in the major cities. While there were cultural differences that I found a bit odd, it was an accurate depiction of how young boys act to this day, particularly when there is no adult supervision around. I loved how it showed the gradual formation of friendships as well. Even when kids don’t like one another at first they can form a bond. It’s never something that boys would talk about, but we see it from the way they behave with one another. There are a number of scenes that show the development of the relationship between the two main characters, and I thought that made the rest of the movie work on a narrative and emotional level. The film is slow-moving, particularly because it takes the main character a long time to figure out what is happening. We can deduce what the priests are doing with young Bonnet early in the film, but it takes much longer for Julien to catch on. Once they have established the story I instantly knew the stakes, because it only takes a basic knowledge of WWII to understand. They utilize these stakes for some great climactic moments in the final act, and a devastating emotional scene or two in the end. I was quite impressed with the acting from these young boys, because they all did a great job and it’s typically a challenge to find even one good child actor. Au Revoir les Enfants is the kind of movie that I’m glad I watched, but I don’t know if I’ll watch again. It is a well-made film, though, and deserving of all the awards attention it received.

  • Jun 27, 2018

    Great movie. Very moving. I saw it when it came out in theaters in 1987. I watched it again 30 years later and it still moves me.

    Great movie. Very moving. I saw it when it came out in theaters in 1987. I watched it again 30 years later and it still moves me.

  • Feb 24, 2018

    1001 movies to see before you die. This one was a fine coming of age movie that tied in the Nazi occupation. Overall I didn't feel that I need to see it again. My favorite part was the Scout game.

    1001 movies to see before you die. This one was a fine coming of age movie that tied in the Nazi occupation. Overall I didn't feel that I need to see it again. My favorite part was the Scout game.

  • Nov 23, 2017

    A heart-wrenching but restrained account of the director's own experience during WW2 when he was a child. This is an honest and sometimes coldly distant narrative of a French boy who befriended a Jew boy as the cruelty of the war interferes in their innocent views. The cinematography conveys the cold January weather of 1944. There are scenes of beauty like the one where the whole school watches Chaplin's 'The Immigrant' accompanied by violin and piano, or when Jean plays the piano to the astonishment of the young teacher. Poor war-era children.

    A heart-wrenching but restrained account of the director's own experience during WW2 when he was a child. This is an honest and sometimes coldly distant narrative of a French boy who befriended a Jew boy as the cruelty of the war interferes in their innocent views. The cinematography conveys the cold January weather of 1944. There are scenes of beauty like the one where the whole school watches Chaplin's 'The Immigrant' accompanied by violin and piano, or when Jean plays the piano to the astonishment of the young teacher. Poor war-era children.

  • Jul 31, 2017

    It captures the innocences of children in a very personal and intimate way and it is clear that this movie came from the heart. Malle's ability to control this young cast and for the cast to perform perfectly is quite a impressive feat. It is a moving film and has a emotional impact to anyone that watches.

    It captures the innocences of children in a very personal and intimate way and it is clear that this movie came from the heart. Malle's ability to control this young cast and for the cast to perform perfectly is quite a impressive feat. It is a moving film and has a emotional impact to anyone that watches.

  • Jul 14, 2017

    no murder lol. nothing happened and we had to watch it in French

    no murder lol. nothing happened and we had to watch it in French