Jules and Jim (1962) - Rotten Tomatoes

Jules and Jim (1962)

Jules and Jim (1962)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Acclaimed French director François Truffaut's third and, for many viewers, best film is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by Henri-Pierre Roché. Set between 1912 and 1933, it stars Oskar Werner as the German Jules and Henri Serre as the Frenchman Jim, kindred spirits who, while on holiday in Greece, fall in love with the smile on the face of a sculpture. Back in Paris, the smile comes to life in the person of Catherine (Jeanne Moreau); the three individuals become constant companions, determined to live their lives to the fullest despite the world war around them. When Jules declares his love for Catherine, Jim agrees to let Jules pursue her, despite his own similar feelings; Jules and Catherine marry and have a child (Sabine Haudepin), but Catherine still loves Jim as well. An influential film that has grown in stature over the decades, Jules et Jim was often viewed by the counterculture of the 1960s as a cinematic proponent of the free-love movement, but in actuality the picture is a statement against such a way of life. Despite the bond shared by Jules, Jim, and Catherine, their ménage à trois is doomed to fail; and Catherine's inability to choose between the two men leads to tragic consequences for all three.

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Cast

Jeanne Moreau
as Catherine
Marie Dubois
as Therese
Vanna Urbino
as Gilberte
Kate No_lle
as Birgitta
Jean-Louis Richard
as 1st Customer in Cafe
Michel Varesano
as 2nd Customer in Cafe
Pierre Fabre
as Drunkard in Cafe
Danielle Bassiak
as Albert's Friend
Elen Bober
as Mathilde
Michel Subor
as the Narrator
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Critic Reviews for Jules and Jim

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (5)

More than 40 years old, François Truffaut's whirling dervish remains an ageless beauty.

December 12, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

With this 1961 film Truffaut comes closest to the spirit and sublimity of his mentor, Jean Renoir, and the result is a masterpiece of the New Wave.

Full Review… | December 12, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Truffaut's third film may not look the masterpiece it seemed 40-odd years ago, but it remains one of his most enjoyable movies.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

There is joy in the filmmaking that feels fresh today and felt audacious at the time.

Full Review… | August 12, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

To put it quickly and crisply, it is charming, exciting and sad.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

...playfulness is the defining characteristic, even if what it largely entails is a tragic gender gap of fatal proportions.

Full Review… | May 18, 2015
LarsenOnFilm

Audience Reviews for Jules and Jim

A breath of fresh air for its time, Jules and Jim now remains an admirably-constructed and well-acted, but far too repetitive love triangle movie.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

I liked this movie, and I enjoyed watching it, but I was left expecting more. As part of the French New Wave, I knew to expect this film to be overflowing with style and technique, but I also expected it to be fun. Maybe I shouldn't have been so insistant on that last part. This film is fun, at times, but it gets serious too, and when it does, I find it harder to swallow. Maybe because it's hard to completely identify with or care deeply about the characters. This story is all about an Austrian named Jules who is friends with a French guy named Jim. They share a mutual love for a (probably bi polar) woman named Catherine. The story takes place over a coupkel of decades from the 1910s to the 1930s, and hops all over Europe (mostly France and Germany). I don't mind love triancgle movie, but the way the story progresses seemed very odd and all over the place and unlkely. Also, this is a period piece, but I never really got that sense. It seemed more like the time it was released than the time it was supposed to be portraying. Because this film is style over substance, and because the characters are nuts, ridiculous, and hard to identify with ocmpletely, I should, by all rights, knock this down a notch or two. However, the film has a gorgeous look, great camera work, wonderful music, good performances, and the aforementioned style, so there. I do recommend this movie, despite it being overrated. Part of its importance and legacy and undeniable and understandable, but this film is a bit of a mess. It's not always apparent though since often this film is light, breezy, and not restricted by a super dense plot. See it, but don't expect it to be the masterpiece that many claim it to be.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

Frenetic, fresh, and still fun to watch even as it approaches it's fiftieth birthday. While certainly the most stylish of the New Wave films that I have seen so far, the frequent use of freeze frames, jump cuts, and panning shots, surprisingly isn't distracting. In fact, Trauffaut's use of these devices is very judicious and really elevates the film as a whole. This sets the work apart from films such as Goddard's Breathless where it seemed at times that many of the devices used in the film were used because they were "cool" or different, rather than augment the power of the story. It is a dynamic rumination on friendship, love, war, and the changing nature of femininity, and certainly one not to be missed.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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