A Very Long Engagement
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Very Long Engagement, A (Dbl DVD) (WS)
Both epic and intimate, A Very Long Engagement reunites Audrey Tautou and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the star and director of the hugely popular Amelie. A young woman named Mathilde (Tautou, Happenstance)separated from her lover by World War I refuses to believe he's been killed and launches an investigation into his fate--an investigation that spins in all directions, creating dozens of miniature stories (including that of an Italian prostitute avenging the death of her own lover by elaborate means) that shift to and fro in time. The dazzling curlicues of narrative put brutality and tenderness back to back, shifting between crushing inevitabilities and miraculous rescues with deft storytelling skill and the lush visual style of the director of Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. Through it all, Tautou--fierce and luminous--anchors the movie effortlessly. She's among the most emotionally engaging actresses in cinema, with the kind of expressive beauty that transcends language. A gorgeous, far-reaching film; the huge cast also includes Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs), Gaspard Ulliel (Strayed), and Dominique Pinon (Alien: Resurrection). --Bret Fetzer
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Top Customer Reviews
tempo and expressive acting was fabulous. The kind of movie which leaves some scenes forever etched into your memory, in a good way.
Great acting all around, Gaspard Ulliel although had a small role was very effective in portraying the absurdity of living a war. In a few words it was a story of the balance between naivity and calculated determination. Brilliant cinematography.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet is an extremely quirky director, and his films have an unmistakable style. Think of him as a French version of Wes Anderson or Quentin Tarantino; at least in terms of humor. Although this film contains more serious subject matter than Amelie, that humor is still there. I usually watch it with a grin on my face and tears in my eyes.
So, what is A Very Long Engagement about? Well, it's set during World War 1, and the first 15 minutes might lead you to believe that it's a war film, but it's actually an epic romance. How many guys have stopped reading already? It's in French and it's a romance! If you're the type of person who can't stand typical romances, don't worry. This film is much more than mere fluff. It has a deep story, with so many interesting characters that you might lose track of what is going on the first time you see it. Just watch what Jeunet does with the character of the postman. Jeunet is perhaps an acquired taste, but I strongly urge you to check out his work if you haven't thus far.
Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) is 20, and she's in love with Manech (Gaspard Ulliel). She developed polio as a small child, and he was the only kid in school who was interested in talking to her.Read more ›
Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) is a pretty young girl who was left crippled by polio, and is being raised by her uncle and aunt. Before World War I, she fell in love with a boy called Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), but he was sent to the war and killed. Three years later, Mathilde gets a mysterious letter with shocking news: Manech was not killed in action, but condemned to death by being sent unarmed to the front lines -- and miraculously, he might still be alive.
Mathilde is determined to find her lover -- dead or alive -- and learn what really happened on that day three years ago. So she puts out ads in the papers, gathers accounts, and hires a detective to follow the cold trail. And slowly the gaps in the stories emerge, giving Mathilde clues to whether Manech died... and where he might be now.
"A Very Long Engagement" (French title: "Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles") diddles a few details from the novel, but is faithful to it in the ways that matter -- the "MMM" inscriptions, the non-linear storytelling, the horrors of World War I. In some ways, it seems almost impossible to transfer onto film without creating a pretentious mess -- but it wasn't.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet proves that "Amelie" was no fluke, but this time he relies mostly on visual artistry, rather than in magical realism. He also reminds us, by displaying the French countryside along with flashbacks of the front lines, that war is stupid and wasteful. But it's not an obvious, slam-in-your-face reminder. Like the romance, it's delicate and wistful.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This French film follows a woman's instinct and love throughout her desperate search for her husband who's believed to have been killed in battle during WW2. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Simon Bergeron
This movie is so slow and dreadfull. Another almost 2 hours of my life waisted. I don't mind the talented acting but Audrey Tautou seems to be hired to play the same roles over and... Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2011 by David E
Saw this at a local film festival. Just about walked out because of the violence of the first ten minutes, but very glad I stayed. Read morePublished on April 4 2006
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