Guest / Limited Access /
A Very Long Engagement
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
(not rated yet)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
R (for violence and sexuality)
Directed By
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Run Time
2 hours 13 minutes
Cast
Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Dominique Pinon, Chantal Neuwirth
Theatre Release
October 27, 2004 by Warner Independent Pictures

During wartime, art about war can play an important role. It can coax us into contemplation and dialogue about the ethics of violent conflict. It may remind us of the lessons we can learn from the past. Sometimes it offers comfort and even hope during a time of fear, uncertainty, and loss. You could probably name a few favorites with such redeeming qualities: David O. Russell's Three Kings, Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, Edward Zwick's Glory, and Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory. Kubrick's later work, Full Metal Jacket, and Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, are sobering portrayals of the madness that war can unleash.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement, based on a novel by Sebastien Japrisot, aspires to be a meaningful war film about holding on to hope against all odds. Unfortunately, it assaults our senses with imagery so intense, subplots so disposable, and tones so different that we're bewildered instead of moved, overly entertained instead of enlightened.

Audrey Tautou plays Mathilde, waiting for her fiance to return from the war

Audrey Tautou plays Mathilde, waiting for her fiance to return from the war

Here's the premise: In the wake of World War I, Mathilde, a beautiful young woman crippled by polio, longs to know the fate of Manech, her fiancé who went off to fight for France. Manech, convicted of self-mutilation on the front lines, was punished alongside four other condemned soldiers. He was ordered to make himself an easy target for the enemy, and he never returned. Conflicting reports about his fate have thrown fuel on the feeble fire of Mathilde's hopes. She will stop at nothing to find out if Manech survived.

If you're feeling any déjà vu, that's because the premise is similar to another epic that arrived at this time last year—Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain. But it would be better ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickYou Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
You Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
It's not a travel guide. And Colton Burpo isn't the first Christian to have an ecstatic experience.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.