Gervaise - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gervaise Reviews

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November 3, 2012
From Emile Zola's novel "L'Assommoir" which essentially means to be hammered (drunk). Rene Clement directs the realistic but tragic debasement of a working class woman at the hands of two men and the rejection by a third. The story clearly a show of how slender is the thread holding us back from catastrophe. Excellent B&W cinematography.
December 5, 2011
Émile Zola's story l'Assommoir makes a bleak film - I watched it without subtitles and my French isn't good enough to have understood everything that was said, but still found it a powerful story.
November 29, 2010
A perfect ending to a pretty perfect movie.
October 30, 2010
This film is filled with so much loathing and anger that when something even halfway decent happens you can't believe it, like Gervaise, and then before you know it, real shit goes down and your treading in bitches. Reject what makes you happy, drown in your weaknesses, and drink some booze. Now, it's not entirely bleak, hope springs from time to time, but hope is more of a sinister alien than anything else. Until the finale, where our dreams come true, and THE moment captures a million words.
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2010
Gervaise(Maria Schell) has two children, a bad leg, but no husband, living with Lantier(Armand Mestral), the father of her children. That changes when he leaves her which she finds out when her children show up at her workplace, a laundry, where some of her co-workers display less than sympathy. Defending her family's honor, Gervaise wins a ten round fight with Virginie(Suzy Delair) by TKO. Two years later, she is now married to Coupeau(Francois Perier), a roofer, and they have a daughter together. Even with that, Gervaise dreams of opening a shop of her own...

"Gervaise" is a powerful and skillfully filmed movie, set amongst the working class of Paris in the 1860's(The Crimean War was in the past while Emperor Napoleon III is still in power) that attacks hypocrisy(notice the scene in the Louvre) concerning the role of women in society, advising them to to be patient in finding a husband, if they want one. This is a society where only the strong survive, and a single mistake could mean ruin, where Gervaise tries to take a different route by using her brains, even as she has been a mother since she was a teenager.
February 27, 2010
Adaptation, sans doute un peu tronquée, de "L'Assomoir" de Zola
Film très moderne, car dénué d'effets de styles et de moralité typiques de son époque.
Il préfère s'attacher à la réalité des personnages, reconstitue avec véracité le Paris des faubourgs de 1850, et privilégie les scènes naturalistes, ce qui en fait une vision sans doute très réaliste de la vie de nos ancêtres parisiens du XIXe siècle.
½ January 11, 2010
Excellent adaptation of L'Assomoir which I studied at university many years ago.
October 9, 2009
An extremely downbeat story, with one miserable episode after another, but always with a glimmer of hope for Gervaise. She's a Cabiria-like character, independent yet achingly vulnerable, and played expertly by Maria Schell (the rest of the cast is quite fine as well). It's also the best-looking Clement film I've seen yet, with the dingy Paris streets coming to life with naturalistic lighting and a roving camera. A powerful and engaging film.
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2008
want to see this because it won best foreign-language film with the NYFC, best picture with the BAFTA, was nominated for best foreign film at the oscars, and was nominated for best foreign film by NBR
June 26, 2008
c'est vraiment mauvais, j'ai vu ca en cours de francais au college, je crois que j'ai dormi ...
½ March 18, 2008
I'm not a big cinema buff, especially as fas as the history goes, so my contextualising of this film is probably very coarse, but it struck me that for a film so old, it's very raw and honest, both in terms of social reality, and lustful sexuality, though it might seem reasonably tame by modern standards. So that offsets how it might seem a little coarse to modern eyes, but also it struck me that the themes here, like men lost in their alcoholic blunt animal nature (they say alchohol makes the personality 'decay') are in fact quite simple and coarse things, if you've ever seen such a thing reasonably close, and that again tells us maybe we shouldn't look at it so much with our spoilt modern 'subtleties'. It must have been quite shocking in its rawness at the time, to many people at least. Not even a happy ending. People caught in their social traps, and women taking all the hardest chores on their shoulders. Maybe an early feminist classic too. Based on Emile Zola's 'L'Assommoir', which itself must have caused a furor for similar reasons when written.
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