Chicken with Plums


Chicken with Plums

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 68


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,096
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Movie Info

Teheran, 1958. Since his beloved violin was broken, Nasser Ali Khan, one of the most renowned musicians of his day, has lost all taste for life. Finding no instrument worthy of replacing it, he decides to confine himself to bed to await death. As he hopes for its arrival, he plunges into deep reveries, with dreams as melancholic as they are joyous, taking him back to his youth and even to a conversation with Azrael, the Angel of Death, who reveals the future of his children... As pieces of the puzzle gradually fit together, the poignant secret of his life comes to light: a wonderful story of love that inspired his genius and his music... -- (C) Sony

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Mathieu Amalric
as Nasser-Ali
Maria de Medeiros
as Faringuisse
Didier Flamand
as The Music Teacher
Serge Avédikian
as Irâne's Father
Rona Hartner
as Soudabeh
Christian Friedel
as Cyrus (at 22 Years Old)
Julia Camps y Salat
as Young Faringuisse
Jaouen Gouevic
as Irâne's Grandson
Timothé Riquet
as Young Nasser Ali
Angus Boulaire
as Young Abdi
François Legrand
as Schoolmaster
Laura Baade
as Cyrus' Daughter
Dustin Graf
as Cyrus' Son 1
Nomi Kaisar
as Cyrus' Son 2
Christian Sengewald
as Socrates' Student
Adolfo Assor
as Rasht Bazaar Man
Ilse Strambowski
as Old Woman Bus Driver
Dietmar Rüttiger
as Cards Player
Louis-Marie Audubert
as Anonymous Cemetery Patron 1
Bruno Paviot
as Anonymous Cemetery Patron 2
Philippe Beglia
as Anonymous Cemetery Patron 3
Luc Gentil
as Family Doctor
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Critic Reviews for Chicken with Plums

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (24)

  • 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.

    Apr 14, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Eric Kohn

    Top Critic
  • Resurrects the spirit of Middle Eastern fables, albeit with a French twist.

    Oct 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.

    Oct 4, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • Chicken is a movie that begins with a crescendo and doesn't sustain its lyricism.

    Sep 20, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "Predictability" is not in Satrapi and Paronnaud's vocabulary, and that is no small thing in this or any other movie era. But the whole those parts form never exceeds their sum.

    Sep 20, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • "Chicken With Plums" is a whimsical, sad, diverting and altogether delightful exploration of how cinema can benefit, not only from glancing back at its own past, but by staying open to parallel forms of presentation and play.

    Sep 14, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | 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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