From the highly acclaimed Director and star of Amelie, comes the truly amazing story of one woman's journey to discover the truth behind her lover's disappearance, whilst battling against the secrecy and absurdity of War. In 1919, Mathilde was 19 years old. Two years earlier, her fiance Manech left for the front at the Somme. Like millions of others he was "killed on the field of battle." It's written in black and white on the official notice. But Mathilde refuses to believe it. If Manech had died, she would know. A former sergeant tells her in vain that Manech died in the no man's land of a trench named Bingo Crepescule, in the company of four other men condemned to die for self-inflicted wounds. Her path ahead is full of obstacles but Mathilde is not frightened. Anything is possible to someone who is willing to challenge fate...
- A Very Long Engagement review by Swambi
This is a unique film. Whilst it retains the quirky commedy and romance of Amelie, it takes it to a far darker and more mature level, with brilliant direction and cinematography. It successfully combines a wide range film categories - romance, history, war, detective and mystery - it's imposible to pin it down to any single type. Audrey Tautou delivers an amazing performance as a determined girl who refuses to believe that her fiancee died in the war, and will stop at nothing to discover the truth. Shots alternate between harrowing and detailed depiction of life and death in the trenches, with stunningly beautiful scenes, centred on the atlantic coast. The story develops over an extended period, and involves multiple strands, so that getting a full understanding of exactly what's happening benefits from more than a single viewing (unless you are very fast on the uptake).
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
Amelie does WW1 or France goes Hollywood
- A Very Long Engagement review by Irene Ridgeon
This was very disappointing for me. It took a very long time to say very little and seemed to be trying very hard to manipulate the emotions rather than being truly moving; a gimmicky and ultimately shallow treatment of serious subject matter, especially as I understand this is the first French film to tackle it.
2 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
- A Very Long Engagement review by JD
I don't know what it is about good French films but this had the same feeling as Jean De Florette and Amelie. Audrey Tautou was the reason I requested this film and she is superb. As an added and entirely unexpected surprise for me was an appearance from Jodie Foster. For me the two best actresses in modern cinema.
Set against this was trench warfare which was poignantly pointless and dehumanising and seen from a very personal perspective. The plot was a bit convoluted with several lines of investigation and the male actors were not quite as fantastically gifted as their female colleagues but I would generally recommend this film.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Picturesque war-time fairy tale detective story.
- A Very Long Engagement review by ZS
Jeunet uses a large number of short detailed scenes to tell a long and complicated stroy in a palatable way. This is not a film to watch when you are half-asleep, or tipsy, but for the alert viewer provides a very entertaining yarn, with many amusing diversions throughout.
Essentially it is a detective story, as Tautou (known now to the world as Amelie) tries various leads and calls upon fate to try and discover her lost love, who was one of five men condemned for illicit attempts to be discharged from the front line of the Somme.
The film is very picturesque throughout, and shows a maturity of Jeunet's distinctive style. Extremely ambitious in scope, and achieves a great deal of what it sets out to do. I would prefer to rate this 3.5, but will rate it a generous 4, as it deserves better than 3.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Not to forget WWI and smile
- A Very Long Engagement review by Nick
This showed the harrowing and perhaps honest face of the 1914-18 war. It manged to balance the serious and horrifying images of the trenches with a light magical touch and a page turning plot. All achieved with exceptional cinamatography and production values... watch it!
Excellent blend of romance and battlefield action - highly recommended
- A Very Long Engagement review by RP
It's in French, with subtitles. But don't let that put you off - this is a superb film, blending romance, battlefield action, and search for a missing fiancé.
Mathilde, played by the always excellent Audrey Tatou, searches for the truth about her fiancé Manech, sentenced to death - along with four others - for self inflicted wounds during WW1. The death sentence is carried out by forcing the men into No Man's Land, where they will be killed by enemy fire. After the war, Mathilde refuses to believe that Manech is dead and searches for him, both herself and using a private investigator. During the search the stories of each of the condemned men is explored, giving each of them a fair amount of characterisation.
Told with a voice-over dialogue, the film intertwines several threads of story to give a satisfying complex tale with a happy - if somewhat ambiguous - ending.
I enjoyed this film. The acting, the dialogue and the photography are very good and the war scenes as grim - if not grimmer - than the opening of 'Saving Private Ryan'. Look out for Jodie Foster displaying a remarkably good French accent in a small part.
Excellent - 5/5 stars - highly recommended.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
- A Very Long Engagement review by Amanda
Really enjoyed this movie. I was half expecting it to make me fall asleep after reading about it. The plot is hard to follow and the story lines are maze of intrigue and conjecture or maybe I ws just tired lol Anyway, this film was still fabulous and Audrey T was amazing as ever. The horrors of WWI were not over done but still realistic and the beautiful backdrop of post war rural France was excellent.