Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (Jeannette l'enfance de Jeanne d'Arc)

Critics Consensus

Its unusual approach may not pay off quite as consistently as one might hope, but the boldly anachronistic Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc is definitely a biopic like no other.



Total Count: 41


Audience Score

User Ratings: 932
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Movie Info

France, 1425. In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young Jeannette, at the still tender age of 8, looks after her sheep in the small village of Domremy. One day, she tells her friend Hauviette how she cannot bear to see the suffering caused by the English. Madame Gervaise, a nun, tries to reason with the young girl, but Jeannette is ready to take up arms for the salvation of souls and the liberation of the Kingdom of France. Carried by her faith, she will become Joan of Arc.

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Critic Reviews for Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (Jeannette l'enfance de Jeanne d'Arc)

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (11)

  • The biggest problem with "Jeannette," beyond what some may consider the blasphemous elements, is that Dumont limits his story to the less compelling parts of Joan's life - before she took on the British occupiers.

    Aug 8, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • "Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc" is very likely the first medieval heavy-metal musical ever to grace the silver screen. Sadly, it's not quite as fun as that sounds.

    May 10, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • A challenging arthouse drama that has a slippery sense of humor and a whole lot of chutzpah.

    Apr 13, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "Jeannette" throws the modern back at the medieval, making no distinction between religious ecstasy and that experienced in certain contemporary contexts of music and ritual.

    Apr 12, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Dumont's early work suggested a director who wanted to be the heir to Robert Bresson and the aforementioned Dreyer, titans of formal discipline and transcendent doubt. Now he wants to be Andy Kaufman.

    Apr 10, 2018 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Jeannette succeeds in its earnestness, adapting its words from Charles Peguy's works, but countering it with the pure, joyous silliness of its presentation.

    Apr 10, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (Jeannette l'enfance de Jeanne d'Arc)

  • Jan 05, 2012
    I didn't know a word about this case before plunging onto this movie. As against my expectations, my ignorance didn't turn out to be in the favor of movie. It assumes that we have the background knowledge and focuses only on trial. Maybe people in general have enough historical knowledge, but unfortunately I'm an exceptional case. I thought that the movie would be interesting as it's based on the transcripts of the case, but except for a few dialogues, it was quiet boring. Even 65 minutes seemed too long to sit through. I appreciate the director's intentions, but not much the film. Needless to say, it serves as an informative piece of work to an extent, but not entertainment.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Mar 16, 2011
    This Robert Bresson film is reportedly taken from the transcripts from the Joan of Arc's trial. And it's a well-done film that suffers from one major flaw -- I saw Karl Dreyer's version of Joan's story PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC first. Florence Carrez portrays Joan with stoic determination. She knows she's right and no one will change her mind. Because of this portrayal, the scene where Joan signs the confession riings a bit false. On the other hand, Renee Maria Falconetti's portrayal is of a terrified 19-year-old girl, being held in prison for her beliefs that seem so right and true to her, and totally unable to comprehend how and why she is being portrayed as evil, when everything she does is for God and her country. Her performance is heartbreaking. Carrez' in-your-face attitude is probably more historically accurate -- Joan WAS a warrior after all -- but I like Falconetti better. And I just like Dreyer better as a director than Bresson. Bresson's direction is spare and minimalist, and it leaves me a bit cold. Dreyer's work never fails to move me, especially in the way he gets such real emotion out of his actors. I'll admit to being brought to tears by more than one of his films. Bresson claims that he made his Joan more of a modern 1960's woman so younger people would identify with her, He gave her a somewhat modern hairstyle and wardrobe. Once again, I prefer Dreyer's Joan, who was even stripped of her hair for the role. One good thing about seeing both films is that I now have a bigger picture of what Joan went through during her trial. Dreyer also used the original transcripts, and the dialogue reflects that, matching word for word in several places. But in many cases they concentrated on different sections of the transcriptions, so seeing Bresson's film filled in the gaps from the Dreyer film.
    Cindy I Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2008
    At just 60 odd minutes the premise of this film doesn't push itself. Yes it is mostly people sitting round and talking but the sublime craft rises it to fantastic heights. A certain amount of emotionless performances make this blunt and to the point. It's a real dissection of Joan herself. Unfortunately this is no Passion of Joan of Arc but it is still a brilliant piece of cinema.
    Luke B Super Reviewer

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