Le Havre (2011)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Aki Kaurismäki's deadpan wit hits a graceful note with Le Havre, a comedy/drama that's sweet, sad, and uplifting in equal measure.

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Movie Info

In this warmhearted portrait of the French harbor city that gives the film its name, fate throws young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a well-spoken bohemian who works as a shoeshiner. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his community, Marcel stands up to officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic cinema of Jean-Pierre Melville and Marcel Carné, Le Havre is a charming, deadpan delight. -- (C) Official Site
Rating:
PG
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

André Wilms
as Marcel Marx
Kati Outinen
as Arletty
Blondin Miguel
as Idrissa
Elina Salo
as Claire
Evelyne Didi
as Yvette
Laika
as Laika
Roberto Piazza
as Little Bob
Pierre Étaix
as Doctor Becker
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Critic Reviews for Le Havre

All Critics (86) | Top Critics (31)

We are so held by the film's impact that its ending, surprise or not, is like a bonus.

Full Review… | June 19, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

Endearingly quirky, just this side of precious, but so warm and deftly executed that you go along with it.

Full Review… | March 7, 2012
The Atlantic
Top Critic

"Le Havre" is a passing fancy of a film, but it passes quite nicely indeed.

Full Review… | January 12, 2012
Detroit News
Top Critic

'Tis the season, so the saying goes. And when it comes to Aki Kaurismäki, it holds true. The Finnish writer-director arrives bearing a gift wrapped in a contemporary immigration fable.

Full Review… | December 2, 2011
Denver Post
Top Critic

If the bummers and ambiguity of some of this season's movies are getting you down - or, hey, just the bummers and ambiguities of life - make your way to Le Havre. You won't be sorry.

Full Review… | November 24, 2011
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The Finnish director's sense of humor is dry and dark as pitch, as he consistently finds moments of absurdity in the midst of strife and tragedy.

Full Review… | November 10, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Le Havre

½

I liked the premise of this film, and it definitely had its moments, but overall, unfortunately, I found it kind of boring. Had the characters had a little more charm I think it could have been great, but I just didn't get behind them (your mileage may vary). Will check out other Kaurismaki films, though.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

½

Affable shoe-shine man Wilms takes up the cause of illegal immigrant Miguel who is seeking passage from the title port to join his mother in London. From a purely stylistic viewpoint, this movie is beautiful with an eye-popping colour palette not seen in French cinema since the seventies. Of course it's writer-director is an outsider with a romantic view of France, and arguably immigration, purely gleaned from the country's pop culture. Frankly if I were French I'd find the stereotypical tableau on display here quite offensive. Wilms exists on a diet of fresh baguettes and wine while the local cafe plays whimsical chansons from fifty years ago. I almost expected a mime to turn up with garlic strung around his neck. Scratch beneath the surface and there's little holding this together. Wilms is charming in a fairytale grandfather sort of way but most of the other cast members are wooden, in particular Finnish actress Outinen. Maybe she struggles with the French language but the desk I'm writing this on has more personality. The problem with European cinema is that it's an old boys network. If you're an established film-maker like Kaurismaki you don't have to worry about funding so you can churn out half-developed scripts like this. The ending of this is so bad that a primary school English teacher would throw it back in the face of the pupil who submitted it. (It wasn't all a dream but it wasn't far off.) If you have a romanticised naive vision of Europe you might enjoy this. If like me you actually live here this will just be lamentable for the wrong reasons. There are beautiful images in this film, they just don't work so well strung together over ninety minutes. For a French language movie about the kindness of strangers go watch "The Kid With A Bike", this one's not worth the schlepp.

The Movie Waffler
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

½

'Le Havre'. A whimsical, feel good tale with a very quirky look, direction and set of characters.

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Super Reviewer

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