The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie)

Critics Consensus

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98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 50

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,808
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Movie Info

In typical Luis Buñuel fashion, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie surrealistically skewers the conventions of society. Buñuel applies his surrealist touch to a mundane event: a dinner party that may never come to pass. A group of well-to-do friends attempt to gather for a social evening, but are thwarted at every turn. The initial problem seems to be a simple scheduling mistake, but the obstacles become more and more bizarre. At one point, the guests are interrupted at the table by an army on maneuvers. Later they learn that they are merely characters in a stage play and so cannot have dinner together. These misadventures are combined with symbolic dreams of the various characters, some of which also involve interrupted dinners. Wicked social satire and one of Buñuel's funniest films. Winner of the Academy Award for "Best Foreign Film" in 1972. ~ John Voorhees, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie)

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (13)

  • A wonderful cast, which includes Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig and Jean-Pierre Cassel, help Buñuel go about his anarchic mischief...

    Jun 29, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • An exotic and brilliant hothouse flower of a film.

    Jun 28, 2012 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Manages to be totally surreal yet totally approachable. Quite amazing.

    Jun 28, 2012 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Luis Buñuel's 1972 comic masterpiece, about three well-to-do couples who try and fail to have a meal together, is perhaps the most perfectly achieved and executed of all his late French films.

    Apr 20, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Luis Bunuel adds another fine film to his solid record with this surrealistically oriented tale of so-called bourgeois types.

    Dec 4, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The chic stylishness of the characters comes over as overbearing rather than satirically revealing.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie)

  • Oct 09, 2012
    If you have no sense of humor going into this, you wont get it at all. This film has a non-linear narrative where things just happen for the sole purpose of exploring the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie which the title tells us it's about. In other words it's a social critique of the upper classes. The way they react and behave in the situations in the film is very funny. I recommend this movie.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2011
    9.1/10 There's something that's always bothered me about Hollywood movies, yet it's something that I never knew bothered me until now. The thing that irritates, troubles, and challenges me is the fact that almost all Hollywood films - good or bad - must have a point; they must make sense. They have a narrative that's genuinely easy to follow, they usually tend to have characters that we like and can relate to. I don't mind this, but then again, it's like I said; it bothers me the slightest bit, and that's good enough for me. I bring this up at this moment because Luis Buñuel's "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" does not make sense; and it almost doesn't have much of a point beyond existence. It's a peculiar film that is meant to confuse; but through trickery, not through muddled screen-writing. The filmmaker must enjoy seeing us scratch our heads with puzzled faces; and he must like it every time we do it. Buñuel is known for repeating himself in some of his movies, but only because people like this quality about the man. Now, "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" is about a group of bourgeois acquaintances who make several attempts to sit down and enjoy a nice dinner. The first attempt fails because they arrive at a time when the meal had not been planned or prepared. The second attempt is also not a success because the manager of the building which they would eat in had just passed away, that very moment. Man, I could go on-and-on about how many times this grand dinner fails to ensue, but I won't spoil too much. "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" is a dish best served cold. You shouldn't know too much or too little about it. Hell, the only thing I personally believe you need to know about it when going in is that it's about people who sit down, multiple times, to eat, but never actually get down to it. Throughout the film, there are some fascinating talks and depictions of dreams. Within these dreams are ghosts and voices that taunt, but cannot be heard. I loved the scene in which a speaking solider tells the dinner guests of his dream, in which he walks a lonely city road, but cannot find anyone who he had wanted to see. There are many complications with these characters throughout the movie, although few of them are actually characterized as many would hope they would be. But this is not your average movie. In fact, no surrealist film should be. Buñuel is a master when it comes to recycling ideas and even premises, or styles, and making us interested all over again. His fans will love this film, and maybe, just maybe, so will newcomers. It's fascinating, and it's often times funny; and sometimes even startling. You know you're watching a one-of-a-kind film when the dinner guests find out they're on a stage, acting in front of an audience full of people, although the sequence later proves to be nothing more than a dream. Look. There's not much else I can say for this movie. It is what it is; well-written, well-directed trickery. The surrealism works, although it's not as extreme as I expected it to be. The visuals are not what matters here; what matters here, is ultimately, what the film wants to do and how much of that it accomplishes. Some may argue that it's not perfect, but I have a good counter-attack for that one: how is it not? The film is interesting, perhaps even intellectual. It is confusing, but decidedly so. It could not have been made any other way, and I openly love it as it is. This is a perfect movie; one of director Buñuel's best. See it because it exists, and because it's as good as it is, and there's really no other reasons beyond those.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2010
    A surrealist comedy of discreet humor that will probably not make you laugh as much as you will feel embarrassed for all of its petty bourgeois characters, and once again Buñuel smartly plays with his film's structure, this time to cast a slyly provocative and cynical view on society.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 06, 2010
    The mere title of this satiric view of the upper crust spells out Luis Bunuels surrealistic take on the subject of the rich and particularly petty: the bourgeoisie. Supplementing an interesting cast with a cynical stance, Bunuel spices up the tragic circumstances of lust, greed, and sloth with gorey and/or unobtrusive dreams which are basic human fears and people's undoing. Eclectic, but not particularly funny, it's not only a piece of art, but a interest propaganda film on what's acceptable in our society.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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