Declaration of War

2012

Declaration of War (2012)

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The opening night film at this year's Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival, this exuberant and deeply moving film follows a new couple, Romeo (Jeremie Elkaim) and Juliette (Valerie Donzelli), who must face the ultimate test when they discover their new born child is very ill. Gathering their friends and family together, they confront the ordeal together as a form of warfare. Donzelli infuses the story with unexpected verve using a host of cinematic techniques, music and heartbreaking performances that results in a film about a contemporary couple who surprises even themselves with their ability to fight not only for the life of their child, but for each other. -- (C) IFC

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Critic Reviews for Declaration of War

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (21)

True to its title, "Declaration of War" is a visceral, forthright visit to the front lines of battle, where superhuman courage is called for as life-or-death skirmishes turn into a long slog of survival.

Mar 23, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The tonal shifts, the "Amelie"-style voiceover and the punk-retro soundtrack may jar some viewers who expect uninterrupted violins, but "Declaration of War" is alternative therapy that really works.

Mar 9, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The subject matter is as serious as can be, yet the style is vibrant, energetic and engaging -- often tense, but without a trace of woe-is-me.

Feb 17, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

"Declaration of War" movingly chronicles a unique and terrible fight: that of two parents against the cancer that has invaded the brain of their 18-month-old son.

Feb 16, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4

As ponderous and overwrought as a film hogged by a couple of young hipsters named Roméo and Juliette can be.

Feb 16, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The film may even be too upbeat, especially the ending, which is too easy and contrived. Yet there's real emotion here...

Feb 16, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Declaration of War

In "Declaration of War," Romeo(Jeremie Elkaim) and Juliette(Valerie Donzelli, who also directed) meet sort of cute across a room full of people, before a slap in the face brings them back to reality. They wonder with their names if a cruel fate awaits them, not realizing they are in a flashback from a time when their son will be undergoing an MRI. The relationship actually starts well enough, at least until their son Adam cannot stop crying. Relax, says Dr. Prat(Beatrice De Stael), he is just eating too much. And then another set of symptoms presents itself that are not so easily explained away... "Declaration of War" is a deeply affecting movie about how a couple's love is severely tested by their son's illness and in general reflecting the worst fears of parents everywhere.(A little late with the warning about internet searches though.) In truth, they are never alone, with a full support system of friends and family behind them. And as much as I usually hate children, I was feeling for the little fellow. So, while the movie is based on Donzelli and Elkaim's real life experiences, making an excellent movie like this out of them is nowhere near as easy as it might seem. Give full credit to Donzelli as she keeps things moving throughout by pulling out all the stops like alternating narrators and even a musical number that accentuates the melancholy mood.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

½

A ridiculous and irritating film full of clichés, about an annoyingly optimistic couple out of a fairy tale facing a hard situation. Not only the narration is expository and unnecessary but everything else is also trivial and unsubtle, made by an inexpert director who never seems sure of what she wants to say.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

'Declaration of War'. Two charming leads, especially Valerie Donzelli, and a beautiful ending. Could have left 10-15 min in the editing room though. I'm tempted to up my rating a little with the revelation that it's biographical, and Donzelli wrote, directed and starred in the thing, with it being based on her experiences, but I shall not. In a way, I'm glad I didn't know this before watching it.

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