A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Original Title

Un long dimanche de fiançailles


Drama | Romance | War


Jean-Pierre Jeunet




Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Dominique Pinon, Clovis Cornillac, Jerome Kircher, Chantal Neuwirth, Albert Dupontel, Denis Lavant, Jean-Pierre Becker, Dominique Bettenfeld, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Marion Cotillard, André Dussollier, Ticky Holgado, Jean-Paul Rouve, Jodie Foster, Julie Depardieu, Tchéky Karyo, Jean-Claude Dreyfus


The story of a woman's (Audrey Tautou) relentless search for her fiancé (Gaspard Ulliel), who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One.


Being a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film starring Audrey Tautou I was somewhat expecting something similar to "Amélie". I couldn't be more wrong. In fact, while it still is a beautiful, well-crafted film, "A Very Long Engagement" couldn't be more different from "Amélie". And it's also a little overrated in my opinion.

What's so different? The story. A part of it is about the life of five soldiers arrested for cowardice condemned to to be fodder for the German line during World War I. This part is told with such sensitivity and realism it keeps you hoping for them to survive.

Why overrated? The other part of the story that follows Mathilde, a young, naive French girl searching for years for her probably dead fiancé. While on paper it does have all the numbers to be a great, touching romance, and it is quite heart-wrenching as well, it isn't romantic at all, and I wasn't able to connect with it.

And there's another problem too. The storyline is complex, so complex with all its characters and plot elements it's easy to feel lost. And at times to get bored.

Other than that everything is just great. The film is visually stunning with a superb cinematography and sets and costumes that really bring the viewer back to the era the film is set. And Audrey Tautou, charming as usual, is able to carry the film on her back and delivers another delicate performance of hers. The supporting cast is also excellent.

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