Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis) Reviews

  • Nov 11, 2020

    Marcel Carne's sprawling Children of Paradise is a film that exudes energy. The energy can be felt in the boisterous, celebratory street scenes on the Boulevard of Crime. It can be felt in the intimate scenes involving love, love denied, and unrequited love. And the energy can be felt in Carne's filmmaking, filled with expansive establishing shots, great performances, and engaging characters. The only possible downside would be the excessive length of the film, running over three hours. Is the lengthy mime performance in the theatre really necessary, or the theatre rehearsal at the start of The Man in White? Regardless, it's a movie that needs to be seen at least once.

    Marcel Carne's sprawling Children of Paradise is a film that exudes energy. The energy can be felt in the boisterous, celebratory street scenes on the Boulevard of Crime. It can be felt in the intimate scenes involving love, love denied, and unrequited love. And the energy can be felt in Carne's filmmaking, filled with expansive establishing shots, great performances, and engaging characters. The only possible downside would be the excessive length of the film, running over three hours. Is the lengthy mime performance in the theatre really necessary, or the theatre rehearsal at the start of The Man in White? Regardless, it's a movie that needs to be seen at least once.

  • Oct 05, 2020

    Weaves together a peculiarly French blend of love for the theatre and tragic, unfulfilled romance with distinctive personalities and ambitions that feels somewhat juvenile rather than classic 75 years on. I'm sure that the narrative resonates with those that see early cinema as an escape to what they perceive as a simpler time, but in comparison to the bleak takes on matrimony that have been commonplace since the New Wave, passionate actors dabbling in dangerous, volatile relationships and holding remote emotional affairs without fulfilment for years seems like wishful thinking. The film compensates with uniformly engaging characters, strong performances (particularly Brasseur), and a cluttered, bustling atmosphere anchored by excellent theatre and street scenes, but watching the film without diving into account the decades that it has spent as a universally beloved classic of world cinema, I think nostalgia has clouded the critics' judgement to a degree. (3.5/5)

    Weaves together a peculiarly French blend of love for the theatre and tragic, unfulfilled romance with distinctive personalities and ambitions that feels somewhat juvenile rather than classic 75 years on. I'm sure that the narrative resonates with those that see early cinema as an escape to what they perceive as a simpler time, but in comparison to the bleak takes on matrimony that have been commonplace since the New Wave, passionate actors dabbling in dangerous, volatile relationships and holding remote emotional affairs without fulfilment for years seems like wishful thinking. The film compensates with uniformly engaging characters, strong performances (particularly Brasseur), and a cluttered, bustling atmosphere anchored by excellent theatre and street scenes, but watching the film without diving into account the decades that it has spent as a universally beloved classic of world cinema, I think nostalgia has clouded the critics' judgement to a degree. (3.5/5)

  • Michael M
    Jun 14, 2019

    There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest films of all time, and I am not exaggerating. A wonderful rebuke to the type of movies currently being made, all lovers of film should see it at least once in their lifetimes.

    There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest films of all time, and I am not exaggerating. A wonderful rebuke to the type of movies currently being made, all lovers of film should see it at least once in their lifetimes.

  • Dec 10, 2018

    "The Gone With the Wind" of France resembles the American masterpiece in length and the messy love affairs, but the comparisons end there. It is not as epic in scope as GWTW, but it was amazing it got made at all--a grand film produced under the nose of the Nazi occupiers. The opening shot is amazing, and Jean-Louis Barrault is perfect as the mime, Baptiste. It is a bit melodramatic, but it incredibly transports you to the 1820s French theater scene, with all its flamboyant personae.

    "The Gone With the Wind" of France resembles the American masterpiece in length and the messy love affairs, but the comparisons end there. It is not as epic in scope as GWTW, but it was amazing it got made at all--a grand film produced under the nose of the Nazi occupiers. The opening shot is amazing, and Jean-Louis Barrault is perfect as the mime, Baptiste. It is a bit melodramatic, but it incredibly transports you to the 1820s French theater scene, with all its flamboyant personae.

  • Feb 18, 2018

    An exquisite, elegant European production; a marvelous achievement, especially considering the circumstances under which it was made. This film is so French, the performances are perfect, sensual and complete. I was literally startled by the scene early in the film where Baptiste acts on the stage and sees Garance and Frederick flirting backstage, his stare is worth a million words, a perfection of acting. Everything is absolutely brilliant in this movie, it's so witty and fresh like the best French novels from which the director undoubtedly drew his inspiration; the dialogues, the choreography of theatrical performances and the rest of this outstanding story of love, jealousy, friendship, desperation and much more. An absolute must watch.

    An exquisite, elegant European production; a marvelous achievement, especially considering the circumstances under which it was made. This film is so French, the performances are perfect, sensual and complete. I was literally startled by the scene early in the film where Baptiste acts on the stage and sees Garance and Frederick flirting backstage, his stare is worth a million words, a perfection of acting. Everything is absolutely brilliant in this movie, it's so witty and fresh like the best French novels from which the director undoubtedly drew his inspiration; the dialogues, the choreography of theatrical performances and the rest of this outstanding story of love, jealousy, friendship, desperation and much more. An absolute must watch.

  • Feb 10, 2018

    1001 movies to see before you die. Arguably the best French movie ever made, an epic drama made during a crazy time.

    1001 movies to see before you die. Arguably the best French movie ever made, an epic drama made during a crazy time.

  • Feb 05, 2018

    One of the true treasures of the world cinematic -and artistic- heritage. I haven't got anything else to say, Carné's miraculous film says it all.

    One of the true treasures of the world cinematic -and artistic- heritage. I haven't got anything else to say, Carné's miraculous film says it all.

  • Dec 20, 2017

    Shakespearean in nature, and self-identifies as such

    Shakespearean in nature, and self-identifies as such

  • Dec 07, 2017

    What a brilliantly written movie! Right from the start, I knew that this was going to be one of those epic movies with terrific acting and a wonderful story. All the different acrobats and performers in the background during the scene in the theater was really something to watch. This movie has a very different feel than most movies. You get the sense that everything is okay in the world and nothing can really go wrong. Everyone lives their lives accordingly to however they choose. The locations and set pieces are as pretty as the movie. The play itself was mesmerizing to watch. Very wonderfully choreographed and acted. I find it hilarious how in a Pantomime theater, if you make any sort of sound, you get fined a couple of francs. Pretty clever. I thought it was great how they showed what happened to everyone several years later. It was really nice to see how everyone turned out. Who takes the cake though, for most entertaining to watch is the actor who played Frederick. Very charming and outlandish. The idea of loneliness seems to be a very prominent one in this movie. Overall, terrific film! Deserves a re-watch.

    What a brilliantly written movie! Right from the start, I knew that this was going to be one of those epic movies with terrific acting and a wonderful story. All the different acrobats and performers in the background during the scene in the theater was really something to watch. This movie has a very different feel than most movies. You get the sense that everything is okay in the world and nothing can really go wrong. Everyone lives their lives accordingly to however they choose. The locations and set pieces are as pretty as the movie. The play itself was mesmerizing to watch. Very wonderfully choreographed and acted. I find it hilarious how in a Pantomime theater, if you make any sort of sound, you get fined a couple of francs. Pretty clever. I thought it was great how they showed what happened to everyone several years later. It was really nice to see how everyone turned out. Who takes the cake though, for most entertaining to watch is the actor who played Frederick. Very charming and outlandish. The idea of loneliness seems to be a very prominent one in this movie. Overall, terrific film! Deserves a re-watch.

  • Jul 30, 2016

    Impeccable acting and quite a superb theatrical visionary made during the WW2. A love story with lots of back and forth, naturally wounding the pure essence. Considering this lengthy feature, it really don't slumber down the quality. Baptiste Baptiste, master of mime.

    Impeccable acting and quite a superb theatrical visionary made during the WW2. A love story with lots of back and forth, naturally wounding the pure essence. Considering this lengthy feature, it really don't slumber down the quality. Baptiste Baptiste, master of mime.