The Illusionist (L'illusionniste) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Illusionist (L'illusionniste) Reviews

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½ April 11, 2017
Based on a screenplay for a never made Jacques Tati film, this is a touching homage to the great Frenchman, perfectly capturing his moments of humour, sadness, and humanity. Our lead, the illusionist, even looks like Tati, with the animation faithfully mimicking his stature, expressivity, and clumsiness. Sylvain Chomet directs this beautiful hand-drawn animated feature, which fully captures the whimsy of Tati's cinematic worlds.

This film, despite its comedic elements, is a melancholic tale of a new culture emerging to replace the old guard. This is highlighted from the get go when the illusionist's act is shunned for that of a trendy modern rock band. He searches high and low for his place in this new world, even going to a remote Scottish town, but ultimately his style of entertainment no longer fits in. Instead, he selflessly sacrifices his own career to give a new prosperous life to a young and awestruck girl from this small Scottish town. Through the illusionist she sees the real world she's been cut off from, and with his help, she grows into a young, beautiful, modern and independent woman. The illusionist's heyday has passed him by, but he finds some meaning through helping another.

Jacques Tati's career ended with a more pensive feel to his films. This film perfectly highlights the middle-ground between his moments of hilarity, and his more reflective, sorrowful moments. Through the sad ending, where the illusionist releases his rabbit, a symbol of his career, into the wild, and leaves on a train, we are also treated to a more optimistic view of our other lead finding love for the first time. This is a perfect homage, made with passion and care, and is a great and deeply affecting, though delayed sendoff to a cinematic great.
March 24, 2017
Amazing animation movie. Hilarious and beautiful. It's almost like watching the best children's book you've ever read.
½ March 16, 2017
Despite it being animated greatly, the plot is generic and uninspired and he characters make terrible decisions. Although I like silent films, do NOT watch this one.
March 16, 2017
An amazing story with beautiful water color animation. I have never been so completely enthralled and captivated by an animated film like this. Clever and romantic in every way.
½ March 16, 2017
After a long time; after ParaNorman to be precise; I have watched a beautiful animation film. There are some scenes which are simultaneously sweet as well as melancholic and you cannot do anything else but praise the film.
March 16, 2017
Gorgeous and mesmerizing.
March 16, 2017
It's another Jacques Tati feature come to life, even though the comic auteur himself died in 1982. In actuality, he wrote the script (sometime after Mon Oncle) and his daughter asked animator Sylvain Chomet (who also did The Triplets of Bellville, 2003) to create the film, so that no live actor would end up playing her father. Although not specifically M. Hulot, the Illusionist (named Tatischeff - Tati's real name) gets into the same serene bungles, as he accommodates to the early 1960's and the slow fade-out of the music-hall trade. He isn't alone in the seedy old hotel in Edinburgh where most of the film takes place - assorted clowns, ventriloquists, and acrobats also live there, feeling despair or seeking other ways to bring in money (Tatischeff moonlights in a garage). All told, there is a wistful bittersweet air to the proceedings, not least because the illusionist is more-or-less adopted by a young girl (a cleaner at one of the venues he's played at) who moves in with him and they develop a sweet wordless relationship that ends when it is time for her to move on and him to declare that magicians do not exist. Oh but they do - not just in the form of Tati himself but also in the form of Chomet who has brought a thing of real beauty to the screen, hand-drawn but computer animated, subtly coloured in reds, greens, and browns, Miyazaki-like in the pleasure it takes in the environments that surround the action. A wonderful tribute to the French legend and a contribution to his oeuvre (and to animation's highlight reel) in its own right.
½ December 23, 2016
I like this type of old-school animations that really tell a story with a striking sentimentalism. It was slow and uneventful but without much speaking, it sure does justice to the story.
April 4, 2016
It's strange, I was surprised yet not surprised that the story was written by the late, great,Jacque Tati. It has the Jacque Tati film feel and yet it's a lot more dramatic than his films. Sylvain Chomet still creates the Tati charm in this animated visual beautiful film.
½ March 3, 2016
With beautiful hand-drawn animation and understandably sad context, this gives a new meaning of magic by showing how a beloved past career can be illuminated by just the right touches, even if it's a bit washed out.
February 16, 2016
Until a few days ago, I had never heard of Jacques Tati. Through a group of friends I was introduced to some clips of his early b&w work, and went searching on youtube for more. Which led me to this diamond.
Tati never actually made this film. He wrote a script for the story. After his death, the script found its way to Chomet's hands. Where it lay, undisturbed, for a few more years, until Chomet finally made this masterwork.
The animation is 2-D, classic, and magnificent. The scenes, in general, are evocative of their real counterparts. Especially the scenes of Scotland. One feels that you could walk on the same ground the animator protrays. And you possibly could, as Chomet intentionally used real locations as the source material for the animations.
The film feels as if it were a strictly accurate remake of one of Tati's films of the period. It is set in that time, between the 30's and the 50's, when electricity was new to many rural areas. Like the Herriot books, this film captures something of that transitional time. Unlike Herriot, Tati's plot pictures some of the tragedy those changes created. Perhaps somewhat unintentionally, the film is something of a philosophic pondering of the impacts of the changes those years saw.
The one dissonance I found in the story was that the time appeared to be telescoped, with the band characters looking like something out of the 1950's, with presaging elements of more recent musical artists. Unless rural electrification was still ongoing in the 1950's for Europe. Also, at one point in the film, there is a news headline on a street stand "Is It War?", which would indicate a pre-WW2 timing. Still this is a minor quibble, and adds nicely to the overall telling of the story.
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Perhaps it is the wrenching of that passage of times, but I ultimately found the film to be tragic. Others will see the film as romantic, but it is bittersweet. The comedic line is always there, as well, for us to laugh and enjoy. It is a beautiful, enchanting tale.
½ January 21, 2016
This movie kills me (in the best way). So beautiful and so heartbreaking.
December 16, 2015
It is a very quaint movie, and although I love animated movies of this genre, this failed to captivate me.
September 9, 2015
A animated Jacques Tati! Which captures the spirit of Tati's work... Even though the movies visually interesting. This story would've looked better live action so this felt more of a tribute to Tati's work. But its very weak in story as its light and has charm. But charm and light nature are pushed a little extreme making it lose some warmth. Not to say its a bad film I just won't see myself returning to it...
Plus theres this scene where it litterly shows Mon Oncle not as something cute in the background but go all out to make it known. It was a little bit annoying
½ July 12, 2015
Not really my style of animation, but without any dialogue it communicates everything with emotion.
½ June 25, 2015
While I don't believe I enjoyed it as much as "The Triplets of Belleville," "The Illusionist" is just as stylishly animated and emotionally moving.
June 21, 2015
Mejor terminen el día del padre viendo esto... y lloren :v
June 18, 2015
While people generally head for Triplets of Belleville when Sylvain Chomet is mentioned, this to me is his masterpiece. Almost no dialogue, a simple yet detailed story, incredibly vivid animation, and characters that I want so badly to be real. One of the best out there.
April 9, 2015
Don't blame that girl.Girls are always attracted by magician.
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