Renoir Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 5, 2013
Portrait of the final days of impressionist painter Pierre-August Renoir, and of the growing affair between his son (future film director Jean) and a headstrong model. Beautiful looking, as befits the subject---with her glowing copper hair, Christa Theret looks like a painter's vision that's stepped off a canvas---but too often watching this slow-paced, reverent movie is like watching paint dry.
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2013
Andree Heuschling (Theret) is an important, but largely forgotten, figure in French cultural history, having been the last model to pose for the impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Bouquet) and the first actress to star in the films of his son, and her husband, Jean (Rottiers). Bourdos film focuses on the final months of the painter's life, in 1918, as Andree arrives to pose for him and ends up living in his plush Riviera home. When Jean arrives home from injured from fighting in The Great War, he immediately falls for the young model.

In the early days of the French film journal, Cahiers du Cinema, its writers expounded at length about the poor state of French cinema. 'Renoir' is exactly the type of film so often lambasted in the pages of the yellow-covered magazine, a bland cash-in on a French cultural icon which feels more like a tourist board commercial than any kind of drama. There's absolutely no dramatic weight to Bourdos' tale and you can't help sense he's trying to create a story where none exists. Andree arrives, Auguste paints her, Jean falls for her. That's all we get. There's nothing to get you involved in this story, one featuring privileged people for whom life comes far too easily.

The one piece of dramatic conflict rests on one of the ultimate period-piece cliches: the young man who chooses to return to the war rather than staying with his lover. We learn nothing of what may have influenced the work of Renoir, neither father nor son. Renoir Snr is portrayed as a dirty old man, constantly babbling about young flesh, while his son comes across as a bit of a drip, a poor match for the vitality of Andree.
If there's one thing this film gets right, it's the beautiful cinematography of Ping Bin-Lee, perfectly capturing the light of a Southern French summer. For the most part, 'Renoir' is nothing more than another piece of Tourist Board Cinema.
Super Reviewer
½ April 8, 2013
In 1915, Andree Heuschling(Christa Theret) takes a job as a model for famed painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir(Michel Bouquet). Instead of giving the old man a heart attack, his painting thrives again. Just as Andree considers herself a jack of all arts, Renoir's pre-teen son Claude(Thomas Doret) misunderstands, asking to see her breasts to which she flatly declines. As a consolation prize, he does get to see his brother Jean's(Vincent Rottiers) wound when he comes back from the war.

It is one thing to be told Jean Renoir's father was a great painter; it is another to see their relationship dramatized in the engaging biopic "Renoir" which also allows us to trace the father's influence on the son. That especially includes the bucolic scenes the father took great enjoyment in capturing for all eternity on his canvas in his own long gone oasis that we first glimpse as Andree effortlessly glides on her bicycle in orange. With mortality just lurking beneath the surface, this is also a time of transition, not only about generations, but also involving technology. The only significant problem with the movie is that it is too long, forcing a traditional narrative arc, instead of letting the material unfurl naturally.
Super Reviewer
April 11, 2013
A hidden gem with some captivating performances. I am hopefully to see more of many of the cast of this film.
½ October 15, 2013
"Cinema is not for the French."

Every frame of "Renoir" is golden, warm and gorgeous. I love how the title misleads you into thinking it's only about the world-famous painter -- and 88-year-old Michel Bouquet, presence of stage and screen since 1947, is quietly perfect in the patriarchal role; like a French Robert Duvall -- when really "Renoir" is about his son, filmmaker Jean Renoir's relationship with his father, and how his father skews art: meant as uplifting and everlasting, workmanlike and constant, while outside a war raging against men refuses to die.

Gilles Bourdos' film is a bit long in the tooth and very slow-moving, yet surprisingly the story never stagnates for too long a time before moving on and exploring something else. "Renoir" is more a canvas than it is a narrative, a surface unassuming for the already initiated. Not a lot happens, but it's memorably bittersweet, all the way into the final take, which has the senior Renoir gazing wistfully out the window at a mother teaching her child to walk as his eldest has just returned to battle and he's confined to a wheelchair. It's a perfectly haunting image of beauty aghast in the flesh.
September 30, 2013
Set in 1915 on the idyllic and beautiful Riviera coast of the Cote d'Azur region of France, Renoir is the story of a young woman sent to the house of the celebrated Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir to serve as the 74-year old painter's new muse. The wheelchair bound artist suffers from severe arthritis and has very limited mobility and he is looked after by a large number of maids and nurses who keep his household going which includes a young son who has become jaded and reluctant to accept new comers to the house. Shortly after Andree's (the muse) arrival, Renoir's older son, Jean, returns home from the war as he has been injured and needs to convalesce. Andree and Jean bond over a variety of topics and conversations while both express a deep respect for the artist and his work. Jean feels a duty to serve his country and fight for what is right; but he also has a keen interest in early motion pictures and he'd like to be able to spend more time with Andree. The elder invalid worries about his son and grows to care for his muse as well ... wanting love and peace to reign in his house. The film is very slow-paced and it may feel (to some) as if one is actually watching a painting as some scenes linger on minimal action as Renoir paints his subjects ... and the audience observes. The film gives little in biographical information on either Renoir ... and it seems to be more "her" story than either of theirs although there are a couple of great father-son scenes in the film in which she is not included. The photography in Renoir is stunningly beautiful ... but it is a green and orange coastal France. The film is always pretty to look at but I don't think it will keep everyone's interest. Renoir (Sr.) was a highly respected artist while his son became a celebrated director ... but this film only very briefly gives us pieces of each of these men. Even after watching Renoir ... we don't really know either of them.
June 13, 2013
As a film, Renoir may not be too good. Characters are nebulous... held at arms length. The action surrounds Andree (Christa Theret) and Jean Renoir (Vincent Rottiers) and their early relationship. But the heart of the film lies with Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet) himself. This disconnect should be a death knell, but somehow remains captivating.

Or maybe "somehow" is itself too nebulous of a descriptor. Renoir feels like a Renoir painting brought to life on screen. Whether the vibrant settings, superbly framed shots, or the silent (and not so silent) pans of Theret posing... each frame beats with a pulse that an art-lover will appreciate.

I almost brought the rating down a half-star for the lukewarm ending. But I couldn't. My theatrical experience was too fun. While I won't really recommend Renoir to lovers of film, to those of us who enjoy art find much to love here.
½ June 23, 2015
Masterfully atmospheric.
June 11, 2015
What a beautiful film to see this morning! It's French with English subtitles and well done. Worth the read. Understated romance and pleasant beauty.
April 29, 2015
Absolutely brilliant and wonderfully pituresque
November 4, 2013
A lavish treat for the eye. If you have traveled Renoir's France this is the film for you.
½ August 6, 2013
Fotography and use of colour are the most interesting point from this movie. Between 2.5 and 3.
June 19, 2014
Beautiful background music and rich painting like locale and people along with a strong anti-war message, but the movie is a slow one. Need patience to enjoy its beauty.
June 14, 2014
Una hermosa película en lo estético y visual. Su guión, pese a su simpleza, es muy interesante. Sin embargo, hay algo que le falta a esta película para trascender. Quizás centrarse más en Renoir padre, pues calládamente se transforma en una película del hijo Jean. Buena música de Desplat que lamentablemente no fue lanzada comercialmente.
March 30, 2014
Beautiful film .French do it best!
January 7, 2014
As delicate as a painting.
February 28, 2014
A beautiful, captivating film with just the right touches and meditative lighting. Too many films bombast you with HUGE dramatic moments, but this is old school, lovely film making.
½ February 3, 2014
glorified titty film, lots of red lens filters. She has nice tits and I do not say that often.
January 13, 2014
The essence of this film is slightly belied by its title. With equal screen time and those with the knowledge of the film director's career, it almost dwarfs the story of his father in the drama. Pierre is played beautifully but the story goes little further than his painful illness, the home life dynamic and the relationship he has with his son and latest model. Beautiful setting which brings his great art to life.
½ January 1, 2014
Despite its tortoise-like pace, "Renoir" is a masterful French film. The cinematography is the best I have seen in years. The story is as complex as Renoir's work. The most effective element of the film is watching Mechel Bouquet, crippled and aged work with his models and canvases. The use of an enormous amount of nudity is never gratuitous. This film was submitted to the Oscars this year as a candidate for best foreign film. I can see why it did not make the first cut, but it should not deter any lover of art to see this fascinating albeit slow-paced film.
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