Muriel ou Le Temps d'un Retour (The Time of Return) (1963)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A middle aged widow tries to relive her past by inviting an old lover to visit her. The two have not seen each other in 20 years, and the man shows up with a young mistress. He tries to convince his host the young woman is only his niece. The widow's stepson is a shell shocked veteran of the Algerian conflict and is the same age as the man's mistress. The widow tries to escape the reality of her middle age and loneliness by breathing life into a faded memory of a past love.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Lopert Pictures Corporation

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Nita Klein
as Francoise
Claude Sainval
as de Smoke
Laurence Badie
as Claudie
Gaston Joly
as Antoine, the Tailor
Julien Verdier
as The Stableman
Jean Champion
as Ernest
Jean Daste
as The Goat Man
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News & Interviews for Muriel ou Le Temps d'un Retour (The Time of Return)

Critic Reviews for Muriel ou Le Temps d'un Retour (The Time of Return)

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (2)

Under Resnais's direction, the clunky reconstruction of the devastated French town is as central to the action as the characters are, creating a blank and bleak setting for their oblivious chitchat.

Full Review… | October 12, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

A subtle, precise, and wrenching film, shot largely without recourse to the stylistic flourishes that made Resnais' reputation.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's startling and it's not always easy to follow, but it's also amazing. It's unlike anything else and it's brilliant. I desperately need to see it again.

Full Review… | April 15, 2014
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Set in a town marked by extensive postwar reconstruction and in an apartment filled with restored antiques, Resnais' film traces the continuum between past and present, and the persistence of history in a world of change.

March 27, 2009
Little White Lies

Alain Resnais deals with the impact of the war in Algeria on a French veteran. Although the surrealist touches seem dated, the issues of war and torture are not--especially in light of the current war in Iraq.

Full Review… | June 8, 2007

The web of opened, ultimately unfollowed trails in 'Muriel' leads, not to the coherence of art, but to mere mirrors within mirrors.

Full Review… | April 4, 2007
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Muriel ou Le Temps d'un Retour (The Time of Return)

If you want to spend 2 hours watching a movie that makes no sense and has no ending, go ahead...

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]In "Muriel," Helene(Delphine Seyrig) lives in Boulogne with her grown son Bernard(Jean-Baptiste Thierree) where she sells antique furniture out of her apartment. An old flame, Alphonse(Jean-Pierre Kerien), has come to visit, along with his niece Francoise(Nita Klein). Sensing things are about to become crowded, Bernard decides to sleep in his studio.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]After the first night, "Muriel" jumps from scene to scene with abandon(the opening scene has an example of what is to come), barely giving the characters a chance to catch their breath as they are hurtled into the future.(This is about the only time when I have seen jump cutting used wisely. Figures it would be Alain Resnais to get it right.) But that does not mean they are not obsessed with the past which not only consumes Helene and Alphonse but also Bernard who is haunted by his actions in Algeria as a soldier where Alphonse also lived for the past fifteen years. In the end, both World War II and Algeria blur together in one remembrance of horror.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Oh God how I HATE HATE HATED this film in college. One of the most miserable film viewing experiences of my life. I suppose I should revisit it.

Steve K
Steve K

Super Reviewer

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