The first days of WWI. Adrien, a young and handsome lieutenant, is wounded by a piece of shrapnel. He will spend the entire wartime at the Val-de-Grâce Hospital, in Paris. Five long years, ... See full summary »
The first days of WWI. Adrien, a young and handsome lieutenant, is wounded by a piece of shrapnel. He will spend the entire wartime at the Val-de-Grâce Hospital, in Paris. Five long years, and his life will change forever... Written by
When Adrien is passing through the village there is a British 18-pounder field gun visible in the background. The British were not involved in the fighting yet at this stage. The French relied almost exclusively on their "75s" and almost certainly did not use British guns. See more »
Aside from being cheese eating surrender monkeys, I'm starting to think the French make some of the best films around. This is a searingly honest, devastatingly unflinching look at young men coping with life changing facial injuries during the early 20th century while at war. There's no mollycoddling here... everyone thinks these once handsome guys now look like freaks, and even most of their former friends and family want nothing to with them. Lacking in self-confidence due to their appearances, the hospital for them is their prison, and they entertain thoughts of self-harm and suicide daily. Their only company is a few sympathetic nurses and a doctor who's bedside manner consists of a few unhelpful platitudes. Life for them will never be the same again, but worse than their respective mutilations may be the despair...
Not a foot is put wrong, not a single minute is wasted in this brilliant drama, as our lead, who is scarred by an explosion on the battlefield, must learn to adapt to a new life as well as people's perceptions of him. Without a jawbone he can't even speak, and is forced to write everything down with a piece of chalk on a blackboard. Him and his fellow patients survive on games of cards and gallows humour, while stuck in this dingy building. It's powerful stuff, and I was transfixed throughout at the plight of all the characters, on whom I must say the make up was fantastic... You'd almost believe it was a documentary. But of course it couldn't be... you can't film in colour something that took place 100 years ago. DUH. Anyway, this is a work of art I'll remember for a long time, and I'd advise ALL of you to see it. You ALL won't, though. Your loss.... 9/10
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?