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Le roi de coeur
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Reviews & Ratings for
King of Hearts More at IMDbPro »Le roi de coeur (original title)

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of my all time favorite movies

Author: s k from United States
18 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As another reviewer stated, I first saw this film when I was I was in my teens, over 40 years ago. It had such an impact on me that I sat in the theater and watched it again. After all this time, it remains one of my favorite movies of all time. I've simply never seen anything like it. It's one of the few movies I've ever rated 10/10.

There is simply something about the way it portrays the absurdity and insanity of war -- using humor and love and innocence and profound insights into human nature -- that is different than any other film I've ever seen. By the same token, it seems as if this film is not for everyone. I remember being so excited when I found it at Blockbuster and couldn't wait to watch it with my (ex) wife. She absolutely hated it. (Maybe that should have told me something right there. But I digress...)

King of Hearts is one of those rare creations that is timeless, and is worth watching again and again. It's possible to continue to see things in the film that you've never seen before. Also, seeing KOH after some time away is like visiting an old friend -- it always feels like home.

Rating: 10/10

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Meditation on war, or dated, old and boring?

Author: Jason ( from San Diego, CA
5 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My wife and I just finished watching this film on DVD (or I should say I finished watching, my wife bailed 20 minutes into it). We watch foreign films, we watch old movies, we watch indie movies, we watch a ton of movies.

This movie came to me as a recommendation from a co-worker who is old enough to have served in the Vietnam war. I was born as that war came to an end.

This film was okay. It might have been great in its day, but it holds up poorly now. Why? Well, there are other films I feel that have stood the test of time much better than "King of Hearts". Aside from Genevieve Bujold and Alan Bates, the rest of the cast are unknowns (even today). Alan Bates is supposed to be this great English actor, but I had not heard of him. I understand he does non-mainstream films, but still, he isn't that good. If he was, I would have heard of him. I know his contemporaries such as Peter Finch and James Mason.

The film is droll, sure, but I felt detached, which is the worst thing a director can do to his audience. I want to be able to experience what the main character is feeling, but "King of Hearts" is so simple, and Alan Bates so one-dimensional, that in the end, there were just moments that were enjoyable. To me, this is a relatively forgettable film.

The story was not complex or engrossing. A soldier is sent to disable a bomb in a town whose residents have fled. The residents of the insane asylum escape and become the town's residents. However, Alan Bates character knows they are from the asylum very quickly. He has dialogue with the patients, and there's an attempt to highlight that war is more insane than the mentally ill, and that the mentally ill are more humane and sane. Some other reviewer mention the theme of non-conformity, which I suppose was Alan Bates' character not being a part of the military in the end.

This didn't mean much to me because I'd rather watch "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" which deals with mental illness more accurately, and non-conformity more poignantly. I'd rather watch "The Deer Hunter" or "Platoon" or "Born on the Fourth of July" or "Schindler's List" or "Saving Private Ryan" or "The Thin Red Line" or "Apocalypse Now" for the insanity of war. I get that "King of Hearts" is a light, gentle satire, but that also makes it boring in my book. As I said, I want more from a movie, and "King of Hearts" is just average--not bad, just average.

As for the reviewer who suggested that the younger generations (which includes mine) isn't concerned with non-conformity, I have to say that in my observation, the people I know who have tried not to conform end up being even more conformist than those who accept that life is inescapably conformist. Alan Bates' character may not have decided to conform to the military, but he decided to conform to be a mental health patient in the end, which has its own set of rules. I'd rather watch "Into the Wild" for non-conformity, and wonder about the sanity of that character. It's far more interesting to me.

In the end, it's all a matter of perspective and opinion and taste. I'm sure there are movies from the 1980's that have nostalgic value for me that do nothing for the generations younger than myself (or older than myself for that matter!) "King of Hearts" seems to have a place in baby-boomer's hearts.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Too Clean

Author: bigverybadtom from United States
19 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The message is clear enough: war is craziness, as we contrast the lunatics from the local insane asylum from what the warring armies do. Soldiers kill each other, the private sent to the town is supposed to defuse the bomb the retreating Germans had planted to destroy the town, and near the end, the Allied armies change their plans and want to destroy the town with the Germans about to come back.

The movie is purposefully highly stylized: the village is pretty, and the lunatics doll themselves up as they enter the abandoned town. Even the soldiers are shockingly clean for wartime armies.

And that is the whole problem with the movie. It's too clean and pretty. A town that has just been abandoned by a retreating occupying army would certainly be a mess, but in the movie it looks pristine. Also, as the movie takes place late in World War One, everyone, especially the Germans, were quite exhausted with dwindling food and other supplies. (Armored cars-as opposed to tracked vehicles-were hardly used on the Western Front at this stage of the war either.) The lunatics are too clean as well-and too similar. There are many different kinds of mental illness, including those that require people to be institutionalized. Yet the lunatics all act much the same way, like playful children who have little perception of what is going around them. Some lunatics may be like that, but others have much different symptoms, such as usually acting perfectly normal but having intermittent severe episodes.

This may be an antiwar movie, but it's too clean and stylish to be anything more than a confection.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Not for me

Author: drosse67 from Virginia
22 October 2002

This movie has a real cult following and perhaps in the '60s, the idea of lovable lunatics, who are smarter than their sane counterparts, appealed to the counter-culture. Now it just seems overly dated and quite unfunny. Movies set in insane asylums can be a delicate task--how do you pull it off without offending too many people, or making it TOO cute? The exception of course is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (but I also liked The Dream Team and Crazy People, two late '80s movies that played like black comedies). King of Hearts, on the other hand, is just too cute, and basically is a one-joke comedy. The one joke wore off real fast.

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6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Maybe it was funny 40 years ago...

Author: muscoe from california
17 September 2003

This film plays out like a skit from a bad season of Saturday Night Live. They take one joke that isn't very funny to begin with, and then beat that same joke to death over and over again. With SNL though, the most you have to endure is seven minutes or so, with this one, it's a butt-numbing 100. To make it that much more difficult to sit through, they throw in a nice jolly repeating theme of polka music. Yay!

The film isn't really that BAD, it's just not that GOOD either. I do like the message in it, the insanity of war and whatnot, but it could have been done much better. As soon as you see the patients escaping from the hospital and assuming the identity of citizens, you know what direction the movie is headed and what the ultimate message will be. And then it's 80 minutes of sitting there thinking "Get on with it!"

It's not the absurdity of the movie that bothers me, it's the lack of humor. There were many instances where I knew there was a joke, but it just wasn't funny (look, the German commander has pigtails! ha, ha, HA!) Usually, I expect foreign films (particularly European ones) to have a more developed sense of humor than their American counterparts, but not the case with this one. If you're a fan of Jerry Lewis, maybe you'll like this. But if like me, you can't stand that kind of humor, you'll be looking for the fast forward button.

This movie is worth watching, just to have it in your repertoire, but I have absolutely no desire to see it again. In all fairness, it does have a very good ending, I just wish I could have seen that without all the fluff in the middle. I'm sure it's a generational thing as far as the humor sensibilities go (I'm 25), but the mode of comedy in this movie is just outdated. The concept behind it is good, but the execution is lacking, to say the least. I think if somehow the crew of Monty Python were to make this movie, it would be improved immeasurably and would have been an instant classic. As it stands though, it is only mildly amusing at its best points.

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