Critics Consensus

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet deftly combines horror, sci-fi, and humor in Delicatessen, a morbid comedy set in a visually ravishing futuristic dystopia.



Total Count: 54


Audience Score

User Ratings: 47,186
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Movie Info

A post-apocalyptic future becomes the setting for pitch black humor in this visually intricate French comedy. The action takes place within a single apartment complex, which is owned by the same man that operates the downstairs butcher shop. It's a particularly popular place to live, thanks to the butcher's uncanny ability to find excellent cuts of meat despite the horrible living conditions outside. The newest building superintendent, a former circus clown, thinks he has found an ideal living situation. All that changes, however, when he discovers the true source of the butcher's meat, and that he may be the next main course. This dark tale is played out in a brilliantly designed, glorious surreal alternate world reminiscent of the works of director Terry Gilliam, who co-presented the film's American release. Like Gilliam, co-directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro hail from an animation background, and have a fondness for extravagant visuals, absurdist plot twists, and a sense of humor that combines sharp satire with broad slapstick and gross-out imagery. This mixture may displease the weak of stomach, but those attuned to the film's sensibility will be delighted by the obvious technical virtuosity and wicked sense of humor.

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Critic Reviews for Delicatessen

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (12)

Audience Reviews for Delicatessen

  • Sep 30, 2015
    Delicatessen is a very visually stimulating film. Despite the impression that the description creates, the film is about as much a horror movie as Army of Darkness is. Rather I would say the film is a fiendish and surreal comedy. Whether you enjoy the film or not will largely come down to taste. The acting and filmmaking are good enough to at least warrant a view so you can see for yourself.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 18, 2015
    Made about twenty years too late, Delicatessen is still a good example of European arthouse that (unlike most) still manages to skirt the realm of having an actual story. Those who can't bear subtitles would do best to avoid this post-apocalyptic French comedy, those who can may still not find it enjoyable, but for a certain group of us, Delicatessen is fine, just fine.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2012
    A former clown lives in a tenement that features several quirky characters including a cannibalistic butcher. Super Reviewer Alice Shen contends that Jean-Pierre Jeunet had one good idea, <i>Amelie</i>. I disagree only because I love <i>A Very Long Engagement</i> and liked <i>Micmacs</i>, but her view that his work descends into a convoluted mess when he is unable to seamlessly entwine his characters and plotlines is well-taken in the case of <i>Delicatessen</i>. The underground army that plays a seminal role in the film's conclusion isn't introduced until the second act, and even then, I thought they were just passing through, on their way to another movie. The quirky "sex symphony" and the quirkier frog man weren't interesting or amusing; they were just Jeunet trying too hard. I also think that Dominque Pinon, winner of the Most Interesting-Looking Face award, is more suitable to supporting roles, where he can provide the perfect balance to the film's straight man, as he does in <i>A Very Long Engagement</i>. Overall, this is not Jeunet's best work, but it's better than most films about cannibalism.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 25, 2012
    This is exactly like Brazil. That is to say, the movies look really really similar, in thier cluttered sets, quirky characters and post-apocalyptic yet casual world. I liked it as much as I liked Brazil. It was fun, kinda cool, but not really my cup of tea. It kind of bothered me the way it couldn't quite pick what genre it was supposed to be. I think it wanted to be a comedy.
    Emily A Super Reviewer

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