Fear and Trembling (Stupeur et tremblements)

Critics Consensus

This tale of culture clash is by turns downbeat and hilarious.



Reviews Counted: 35

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,781


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

French director Alain Corneau delves into the painfully irrational world of office politics, which are further complicated by a severe case of culture clash in his 2003 comedy, Stupeur et Tremblements (Fear and Trembling). Based on the similarly titled memoirs of author Amélie Nothomb and her employment experiences with a Japanese mega-corporation, Fear and Trembling begins with Amélie (Sylvie Testud) landing in Tokyo shortly after receiving her college education. The young Belgian chose to return to Japan -- where she spent the first five years of her life before her family relocated back to Europe -- for her first job in an entry-level position with the Yumimoto Corporation. Amélie diligently accomplishes her daily tasks with invention and ambition, but her work ethic proves threatening to her immediate supervisors who single her out as a deviant within the corporation's firmly entrenched power hierarchy. As she is led through a series of humiliations and demotions designed to destroy her individuality, Amélie is forced to submit to an endless stream of unreasonable demands issued by nearly every supervisor with seniority over her. Determined to complete her one-year contract with the company in spite of the vicious power struggles, Amélie wages a kind of culture war from her irreversible position as lowest rung on the power ladder.


Critic Reviews for Fear and Trembling (Stupeur et tremblements)

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (18)

The best office comedy since Office Space.

Aug 5, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

One of the screen's most cuttingly funny looks at office life.

Jun 24, 2005 | Rating: 3/4

... subtly sexual and erotic, despite the fact that every scene takes place in the office and there is not a single overt sexual act or word or gesture or reference.

Jun 24, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The film is more ambiguous about its characters' desire than it needs to be.

May 20, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The delicacy of the film comes from the fine performances, particularly Kaori Tsuji as Fubuki.

Apr 1, 2005

Astutely directed by Alain Corneau.

Mar 18, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Fear and Trembling (Stupeur et tremblements)


A funny if unoriginal look at cultural divides. Sometimes the morals are hammered home too blatantly but overall a warm feeling of genuine likeability eminates from the film. Brilliant performances and some wonderfully scripted scenes make this a fine film, even if the containment within the office place hinders the film in terms of characterisation.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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