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Whimsical and melancholy, Chicken with Plums is visually striking and dreamily compelling despite its occasional narrative missteps. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

When his beloved violin is broken, famed musician Nasser Ali Khan (Mathieu Amalric) loses the will to live. Unable to find a replacement for the instrument, Nasser decides to retreat to his bed and await death. As he waits, Nasser plunges deep into reverie and experiences dreams both joyous and melancholic. He speaks with Azrael (Édouard Baer), the Angel of Death, who reveals the future of Nasser's children. As pieces of a puzzle fall together, the poignant secret of Nasser's life emerges.

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Critic Reviews for Chicken With Plums

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (18)

  • These moments give flavor, but fail to cohere into any particular taste.

    June 28, 2013 | Full Review…
  • While visually scrumptious, the movie struggles to reach a greater profundity that it never quite obtains, but its childlike emulation of a grand tragedy is indelibly precious.

    April 14, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • Resurrects the spirit of Middle Eastern fables, albeit with a French twist.

    October 18, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • This dreamy, visually inventive Iranian drama functions on so many levels of reality and obsession that it almost ceases to entertain.

    October 4, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • A crushing disappointment by almost any standard, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parronaud's followup to the delightful Persepolis is a bad idea poorly realized.

    September 28, 2012 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • Fluctuating between the extraordinary and the dull, with sections of narrative explication and tangents, Chicken With Plums can be as frustrating as it is ambitious. It's more like Chicken With Plums -- and the Kitchen Sink.

    September 21, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Chicken With Plums

  • Nov 23, 2013
    Unfortunately, <i>Poulet aux prunes</i> comes as a soulless story that forces everything down the viewer's throat to try to capture the audience: i. Pretty images with digitally inserted attrezzos ii. Tears from characters impossible to feel sympathy for, with the exception of Irâne, a character that is put to suffer without meaning or purpose iii. Forced (and bad) comedy iv. A forced "tragic" outcome v. A fractured chronology so that the whole show may seem smarter vi. An orchestral score So, in the end, it turns out that a tragic love story that could never be was the source of inspiration behind his musical "genius". Speaking about his musical "genius", that is something we are supposed to buy because neither his music nor the violin play a central role in the film. Everything is left to speculation in a sickening secondary background. Everything we are offered is an over-stylized soap opera that ends up being your typical "French" film set in a non-modern setting with clichéd characters and your Eiffel Tower to "accentuate" romance. Despite its interesting visuals, I think this film cheats on you and betrays you at the end. Throughout, you are left hoping for the tiny possibility to witness something in the main character's life that may help you justify his cunt attitude towards life and towards his family, home, etc. But that never happens. Everything can be summed up to a man whose death happens just because. You are, of course, supposed to swallow it. What a shame that Paronnaud and Satrapi felt to such a low degree since 2007. For the first half of the movie, I was considering the possibility whether if the whole feature could have worked better as an animated movie. After half of the film, I stopped caring. I just wanted the bastard to die already. 56/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 14, 2012
    In 1940s Tehran, a master musician decides to go to bed to die after his beloved violin breaks and he can't find a replacement; his life story is told in flashbacks and dream sequences featuring appearances by Socrates, the Angel of Death, and a giant Sophia Loren. An exotic and elegant fantasy drama that strikes an unique tone of despondent whimsy; beautiful, romantic stuff.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2012
    In 1958 Tehran, Nasser-Ali Khan(Mathieu Amalric, who gives another tremendous performance) is a world class violinist without a violin. So his brother Abdi(Eric Caravaca) tells him about a Stradivarius on sale in a distant town. However, Nasser's long suffering wife Faringuisse(Maria de Medeiros), a teacher, wants to know who is going to look after their son Cyrus(Mathis Bour) if he goes. Nasser simplifies that by taking him along, luckily not getting himself killed after his son spends the entire epic bus trip running up and down the aisle. In the end, Nasser gets his violin but is still not happy. In fact, he is so depressed that he takes to his bed to wait for death. First, forget about the title "Chicken with Plums." It suggests sentimentality when the movie's mood is anything but in its sweet melancholy. However, the tone is never oppressive, as it floats along in a variety of styles, including animation, in its expressive examination of mortality and fate, going so far as to also explore the future destinies of the two children. Sure, it may seem silly to the outside observer that Nasser is so torn up about a lost violin. But as the movie sensitively shows by going back and forth in time, there are some very good reasons for his sadness that emanate from a single tragic event.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2012
    The ending of the movie left me heartbroken. I don't want to live anymore now.
    Cita W Super Reviewer

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