Jules and Jim

1962

Jules and Jim

Critics Consensus

Francois Truffaut's arguable masterpiece in a filmography full of masterpieces ready to be argued for, Jules and Jim is an eternal ode to boundless love.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 37

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,515
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Movie Info

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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Critic Reviews for Jules and Jim

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for Jules and Jim

  • Apr 28, 2016
    The basis for this movie is a love triangle between two friends (Oskar Werner as Jim and Henri Serre as Jules) and a free-spirited young woman (Jeanne Moreau as Catherine). It's a joy to watch, all three actors are fantastic, and the filmmaking by Francois Truffaut is very creative, with brilliant sequences which make it clear that he had an influence on Wes Anderson. The movie captures universal truths about relationships, while at the same time highlighting the very French attitude towards affairs. Never slow, and definitely worth watching.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 03, 2015
    Jules and Jim has all you expect from a French film of the early 60s: charm, playfulness, pensiveness, melancholy, and verve. This all becomes manifest through characters involved in a very different kind of love triangle. The film is very romantic in the full sense of the word: life is an experience! The direction and story portray a world very open and changing, happening and dangerous. You get a feeling of movement as the action goes back-and-forth between Austria and France, the moods of the lovers are up and down, and the tension builds up to the memorable climax of the film. The performances were good, especially for Jules and Catherine, but to enjoy this film, and find it to live up to the acclaim it has got as "the ultimate love triangle", one must have an active empathy and be a bit sentimental. The characters do crazy things and one has to be able to at identify with their emotions for the film to work, even if one does not like the things they do. It also helps if one is able to find excitement in the pages of a book; this is really a film that one must "read" to be able to get much out of it (and there is much to be got).
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2012
    If one would want to witness the sheer complexity of love without the utter abundance of unnecessary despair, then I believe that one should not look any further than this film. Although a visually joyful film, "Jules and Jim", based on the novel by Henri-Pierre Roche, is ironically all about the slow decay of a freewheeling love affair. The film's central focus, of course as suggested by the title, revolves around a friendship between two men and how time (or war) can never undo such a strong knot. But then again, the film is also about how a friendship can easily fall prey to the idiocy of romance, the bipolarity of love and the captivating beauty of a woman before they can even know what has hit them. Effortlessly becoming the best of friends immediately after their first meeting, Jules and Jim's friendship is suddenly drawn into a moody yet, to a certain extent, wonderful ride of both love and life via an adventurously unpredictable woman named Catherine (perhaps a prelude to the character trope we now know as 'The Manic Pixie Dream Girl'). Francois Truffaut, a most visually playful auteur, is dead set on exploring love with a sure grasp of irony and relentless energy. "Jules and Jim", with its constant visual frolics and overall feel, is really hard to categorize within a single genre. Part-comedy, part-drama and part-romance (with some hints of war-time dramatics), the film is everything a cinephile can ask for. For the entirety of the film's almost 2 hours of running time, I was just engrossed with what I'm seeing, and it's not just about the film's pioneering visuals. Even when the three central characters are just talking, exchanging reflective remarks and laughing, one can still sense the same tight energy that was fully evident in the film's fast-lipped narration, silent film-like music and playful cinematography. This is definitely because of how well-realized and inspired the performances in the film really are, specifically by the centerpiece threesome comprised of Oskar Werner (Jules), Henri Serre (Jim) and Jeanne Moreau (Catherine). Despite the film tackling a relatively heavy-handed tale about romantic deceit, Truffaut was able to inject a sense of childish gayness in it all. And it is in this childishness that the film was able to separate itself from other films of its kind. For me, what makes "Jules and Jim" stand out and be rightfully heralded as one of the best films of all time is how it has took on infidelity and romantic apprehension with such carefree warmth and transcendental tenderness. Truffaut, one of the ultimate film intellectuals in cinema history, has relied solely on one concept and it has repaid him and "Jules and Jim" a hundredfold: Optimism. Even in the face of tragedy and melancholy, Truffaut was hopeful enough to make us feel that the pursuit of love, no matter the context, the situation and even the consequences, is something that is just truly wonderful to be denied an entry into our hearts. But in the end, he was also able to highlight the fact that obsession, even in the context of love, is an entirely different matter. "Is it the pursuit of an elusive, on and off love or the subtle pains of moving on?" That, for me, is the film's ultimate question. "Jules and Jim" is about how something's got to give.
    Ivan D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 07, 2012
    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 B Super Reviewer

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