La Double Vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique)

1991

La Double Vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique)

Critics Consensus

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82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 28

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,109
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Movie Info

In this off-beat fantasy, the life of a beautiful French woman is mirrored by that of a Polish woman. The two were born on the same day in their respective countries. They look exactly alike and their lives follow an eerily similar course. Though they never meet, each is dimly aware of the other and of the effect they have upon each other's lives.

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Cast

Irène Jacob
as Weronika / Véronique
Philippe Volter
as Alexandre Fabbri
Sandrine Dumas
as Catherine
Aleksander Bardini
as Orchestra Conductor
Claude Duneton
as Le père de Véronique
Louis Ducreux
as Professor
Alain Frerot
as Mailman
Chantal Neuwirth
as Receptionist
Boguslawa Schubert
as Woman with Hat
Jacques Potin
as Man with Grey Coat
Philippe Campos
as Nicole Pinaud
Dominika Szady
as Beata Malczewska
Jacek Wojcicki
as Barbara Szalapa
Wanda Kruszewska
as Lucyna Zabawa
Bernadetta Kus
as Pauline Monier
Youssef Hamid
as Railway Man
Kalina Jedrusik
as Gaudy Woman
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Critic Reviews for La Double Vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique)

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for La Double Vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique)

  • Oct 08, 2015
    Veronique had very free, sensual, and dreamlike qualities. I did not find any deep meaning (nor do I require that of the films I watch). I enjoyed the film for the imagery and mood. It gave a feeling of depth to otherwise mundane reality.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2012
    In today's cinematic world where our suspensions of disbelief are off the charts for all types of fantastical and metaphysical elements, Kieslowski's tale of the connected coincidental lives of two nearly identical women comes off as mild. The film is stunningly beautiful, makes wondrous use of colors and especially its exceptional music, and is shot with an astonishing yearning sensitivity found only in the most poetic of voyeurism. Jacob's central performance, the target of such cinematic voyeurism, is also excellent. Sadly, by the time the film's over it seems that Kieslowski should have had loads more to say; the film feels incomplete or like a half-baked meditation of some amusing ideas that should've been developed more. Even with the average running time of 98 minutes I felt that the film was in two large awkward chunks with each act dedicated to the two main characters. I wouldn't have minded if the film carried on, in the imaginary third act begging to manifest, to make a more concrete statement with its pleasantly whimsical and very intriguing premise. From the director of the 'Three Colors Trilogy,' which stretched the ideas of the boundless interconnectivity of our lives to such a momentous degree that 'La Double Vie de Véronique' seems like a cheap knock-off, I was severely disappointed.
    Edward S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 01, 2012
    Fresh from a blockbuster overload after watching "The Dark Knight Rises" a couple of times, it's a bit off for me to immediately jump back to my more esoteric inclinations. Now, here's Krzysztof Kieslowski's enigmatic "The Double Life of Veronique", a film that, like the movements of the marionettes shown in the film, unveils its story with a certain hypnotic vibe. Honestly, I'm not quite sure if what I have seen is really something deeply meditative or merely a pretentious piece, but it is nonetheless an artful ride. Just like a typical Kieslowski film, "The Double Life of Veronique" appears as if little to nothing is going to happen and as if the main characters' feelings are operating within the confines of an emotional plane alien to ordinary viewers like us. But with the Kieslowki's usual sleight-of-hand at play here, and with that I mean his penchant for integrating deeply affecting concepts about love and identity within the visual limitations of a subtle drama film, "The Double Life of Veronique" is quite successful in a handful of levels. First, it is a well-crafted cinematic amalgamation of music and imagery (thanks to Kieslowski's frequent collaborators Zbigniew Preisner and Slawomir Idziak). Second, it is a film particularly memorable because of Irene Jacob's natural, iridescent charm and quietly devastating performance. And third, well, this is where the more ambiguous things come in. As an abstract film both in emotions and meaning, it is meritorious in just letting its own visual and auditory mood take over the reins of telling the film's story (or the reins of justifying the lack thereof). But unlike your usually plotless art film, "The Double Life of Veronique" has an involving narrative working to its own advantage. Well, the story is quite simplistic. It concerns two women who look very much alike: Weronika, who lives in Poland, and Veronique, who lives in Paris. Both characters are played by Irene Jacob. From the hair to their dressing preference, they are the spitting images of one another. Hell, they're not even related. Not aware of each other's existence, the film's metaphysical powers are slowly creating a bridge; slowly, we are seeing the connection between them. But Kieslowski, arguably at his subtlest, won't let his film be tarnished by some clichéd chance encounters or life-affirming vis a vis between the two. Instead, Kieslowski has spatially set both characters apart from each other to first let their independent stories be told. Weronika, a considerably free-spirited young woman, is just inches away from attaining success in the world of opera singing. Veronique, on the other hand, is a music teacher in search of a meaningful love. From these simple stories of existence, the film is quite surprising in how it slowly widens its conceptual plane as it progresses. From simply being a drama film about two look-alikes, "The Double Life of Veronique" slowly turns into a meditation about distant duality and the spiritual and emotional connection between two people created in the same physical mould. So, maybe this is where God enters this little humanist circus. Does Kieslowski perceive God as a playful master creator? An omniscient being that brings dead ringers into existence, intentionally integrates them into the stream of life and then watch the sparks fly? Is there some sort of energy that these two share that when one of them dies, the other gets weaker and emptier inside? Kieslowski's vision for this picture is just too far-reaching and, at the same time, so wonderfully ambiguous that its idea just won't end where this film already has. Take "Another Earth" as an ideal example. I believe that the said film is "The Double Life of Veronique" all over again. Adding a sci-fi element by incorporating a 'mirror' earth that is said to be inhabited by parallel versions of ourselves, "Another Earth" just took this film's whole concept and made it a notch more complicated but a notch less fascinating. But do not get me wrong, I think that "Another Earth", as a film, has its own merits. But at the end of the day, I very much prefer Kieslowski's masterly stroke of using nothing as his ultimate explanation to everything. Though this might be considered as a pretentious cop-out on his part, leaving everything unanswered has made the film even more compelling and reflective than it should have been. Although we all have different takes on it, we do not hold the key to what it's really all about. Perhaps life itself does, and we just aren't looking closely.
    Ivan D Super Reviewer
  • Dec 26, 2011
    A strange but interesting film which unfortunately did nothing for me. It was too confusing trying to work out what was happening and when and what exactly Jacob's facial expressions were meant to represent. Left me with too many questions however the message that life is fragile and you should cherish every moment is very heart warming.
    Sophie B Super Reviewer

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