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A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Un long dimanche de fiançailles (original title)
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Tells the story of a young woman's relentless search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One.

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Writers:

(novel), (story and adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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4,290 ( 211)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Chantal Neuwirth ...
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Dominique Bettenfeld ...
Ange Bassignano
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Benjamin Gordes (as Jean Pierre Darroussin)
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Jean-Pierre Becker ...
Esperanza (as Jean Pierre Becker)
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Six-Soux
Jérôme Kircher ...
Bastoche
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Storyline

Five desperate French soldiers during The Battle of the Somme shoot themselves, either by accident or with purpose, in order to be invalided back home. Having been "caught" a court-martial convenes and determines punishment to be banishment to No Man's Land with the objective of having the Germans finish them off. In the process of telling this tale each man's life is briefly explored along with their next of kin as Methilde, fiancée to one of the men, tries to determine the circumstances of her lover's death. This task is not made any easier for her due to a bout with polio as a child. Along the way she discovers the heights and depths of the human soul. Written by Liam McBain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Never let go

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

14 January 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Very Long Engagement  »

Box Office

Budget:

$47,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,969,526 (France) (29 October 2004)

Gross:

$6,167,817 (USA) (25 February 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Years after starring in this film, Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tautou and Gaspard Ulliel, portrayed three of France's most iconic figures: Cotillard played Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose (2007), Tautou played Coco Chanel in Coco Before Chanel (2009) and Ulliel played Yves Saint Laurent in Saint Laurent (2014). See more »

Goofs

Mathilde was born on January 1, 1900. At least twice in the course of the film we are told that Manech is only 1 year older than her. However, the voiceover at the beginning as Manech is being led through the trench with the other prisoners in January 1917 informs us that Manech is "five months shy of 20," putting his birth date in June of 1897 and making him two and a half years older than Mathilde. On the other hand, he could have lied on his real age in order to be conscripted - the voice-over citing actual records, Manech could have insisted to be sent, and had his age modified on records. See more »

Quotes

Mathilde: [peeling an apple] If I don't break the peel, Manech is alive.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Peer Gynt: Suite Number 1, Opus 46
Composed by Edvard Grieg
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant
5 December 2004 | by (manhattan) – See all my reviews

This movie is better than "Amelie" (which I loved). The story is intricately plotted so people with a "Seed of Chucky" attention span will be overwhelmed. It must be the only movie to combine amazing combat scenes with romance, comedy and a complex mystery puzzle. Audrey Tatou is a goddess. Jeunet (the director) is like a combination of Chaplin (the romance and comedy); Hitchcock (the incredible camera work and storytelling); and Spielberg (the battle scenes and emotion).

As to some of the comments I have seen on this site:

There were French people complaining that people were speaking too fast. Gee, I don't speak French, but I can read subtitles just fine, so it was not a problem.

Some people complained that it was too long. Then there were people that complained it was too short. Like Goldilocks, I thought it was just right.

There were those that said that Tatou can't act. Audrey's performance was nuanced people, she's no Jim Carrey. Some said she was just playing Amelie again. Wrong. Amelie was a good-hearted but wishy-washy spirit who was afraid to take any action in her own life. Mathilde is just the opposite, somebody who believes so strongly in her convictions that she is able to follow what her heart tells her in spite of all available evidence and every single person she meets. In fact, every actor, no matter how small the role, turns in a great performance (I'm especially partial to the great Dominique Pinon, who plays Audrey's uncle).

There were complaints about the sex. There are a couple of brief shots of people having sex in the introduction, very similar to Amelie. Plus you get to see Jodie Foster doing the nasty from several directions. If that bothers you, go see Polar Express instead. Personally (especially in light of the rumors of Jodie being a lesbian) I am in favor of the sex scenes. There is also a shot of Audrey's fabulous naked booty, which justifies the price of admission all by itself.

Someone else complained that it was too jarring switching between the horrific WWI trench warfare scenes and the idyllic 1920s Paris. Argghhhh, that's the point!

Then there was the complaint about seeing a scene or shot from a different perspective later in the movie. Have you heard of a story called "Rashomon"? The idea is that you are experiencing the events from the viewpoint of different characters. This is cleverly done and never superfluous. At least one time you are quite startled by new information revealed by that shift in perspective.

All in all, this is a movie that really does have everything. If it were an American movie it would win best picture, best actress, best supporting actress (Jodie still might get nominated), best cinematography, best script from a novel, and best director. As it is scheduled for a Christmas national release, hopefully a lot of people will see it.


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