Critics Consensus

Samba isn't the finest effort from directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, but the film's shortcomings are partly balanced by its big heart and talented cast.



Reviews Counted: 67

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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

From the acclaimed directing duo of Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (The Intouchables), Samba is the richly entertaining chronicle of an undocumented kitchen worker battling deportation from his adopted home in Paris. For ten years, Senegalese immigrant Samba (Omar Sy - winner of the 2012 César Award for Best Actor) has stayed under the government radar, taking menial kitchen jobs in the hope of becoming a professional chef. Suddenly, as his longtime ambitions for a better life seem just within reach, immigration authorities hit Samba with an order to leave France immediately. Stubbornly holding onto his dream, Samba pins his hopes for a reprieve on a local immigration advocacy center and Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), an emotionally vulnerable volunteer with little experience, but plenty of heart. He finds a second home at the center with Alice and her colleagues, including brusque law student Manu (Izïa Higelin), do-gooder Marcelle (Hélène Vincent) and naïve Maggy (Jacqueline Jehanneuf), as they search for a way for him to stay in France. As Samba plunges into the unpredictable world of transient labor, guided by his fun-loving Brazilian buddy Wilson (Tahar Rahim), Alice finds herself deeply moved by his determination. Still trying to put her own life back together after a stress-related breakdown, she takes Samba under her wing, while trying to ignore the growing attraction she feels for him. As the immigrant and the burned-out corporate executive tentatively draw closer, their unlikely cross-cultural connection gives them each the courage to reinvent themselves in this vibrant romantic comedy full of tender humor and heartfelt optimism. (C) Broad Green

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Omar Sy
as Samba Cissé
Youngar Fall
as L'oncle Lamouna
Liya Kebede
as Magali dite Gracieuse
Sabine Pakora
as Gracieuse - la gérante du salon
Clotilde Mollet
as Josiane - de l'agence d'intérim
Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye
as Un migrante à l'association
Oumar Makalou
as Un migrant à l'association
Roukiata Ouedraogo
as Un migrant à l'association
Jaleleddine Abidi
as Monsieur Asbag
Mohammed Guelt
as Monsieur Jebli
Eduardo Sainz
as Le Péruvien
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News & Interviews for Samba

Critic Reviews for Samba

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (23)

  • The editing errs on the side of longueurs, but likable people and the mise-en-scène draw you in. Somehow, even the artificiality feels heartwarming.

    Dec 30, 2015 | Full Review…

    Tim Appelo

    Top Critic
  • Samba finds a much stronger rhythm when it stops contriving and simply shines a light on the joy and pain (and musical interludes) of lives lived in the margins.

    Dec 30, 2015 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • Unfortunately, the material flounders from the broadly farcical to the bombastically melodramatic.

    Aug 6, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "Samba" tries to be too many things to too many people, although you can't say it doesn't have heart.

    Aug 3, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    John Anderson

    Top Critic
  • Gainsbourg and Sy play off each other wonderfully, emphasizing how these characters relate to each other as people; their scenes together feel emotionally honest even though one can barely imagine them happening in real life.

    Jul 30, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • "Samba" is loosely plotted and is at least 20 minutes too long. It seems ready to end half a dozen times before it finally does, with ironic payoffs for Samba and Alice that are too glib to be satisfying.

    Jul 30, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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