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Ensemble, c'est tout
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Reviews & Ratings for
Hunting and Gathering More at IMDbPro »Ensemble, c'est tout (original title)

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42 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

the French do romance differently

Author: Philby-3 from Sydney, Australia
27 December 2007

I liked this film. The French formula for romantic comedy doesn't depend on the characters being rich, young and handsome, an opulent setting , and no old people (except for very minor characters). French directors find romance in the humbler areas of Paris as well as the flashier parts. Camille (Audrey Tautou), an art school dropout, works as a cleaner, or "surface engineer" as she likes to be called. She lives in a garret in the same old apartment building as Philibert (Laurent Stocker), who is young and good-looking, but is the French equivalent of a dim gentleman. Philibert sells postcards for a living. Notwithstanding a stutter, he aspires to a career on the stage. He shares his rather grand but dowdy apartment, his grandmother's former home, with the gruff Franck (Guillaume Canet), a womanizing chef. Franck is pre-occupied with looking after his elderly grandmother Paulette (Francoise Bertin), who is hospitalized after a fall. When Camille falls ill Philibert invites Camille to convalesce at his place. Soon she is striking sparks off grumpy old Franck.

Philibert isn't gay; it's just that his romantic interests lie elsewhere. It is Pauline who draws Franck and Camille together. The French title "Ensemble C'est Tout" ("Together, That's All") says it all, really. (I haven't a clue what this film has to do with hunting and gathering).

Audrey Tautou has just about got the market for sexy French waifs sewn up. I've seen her in several other films and her performances are similar. Guillaume Canet lets us see his gruff chef's soft side and Francoise Bertin also evokes sympathy for someone made tiresome by old age. The part of Philibert's love interest Aurelia is severely truncated (the result of putting a 600 page novel into 100 minutes of film). This also tends to sideline Philibert later in the film.

I very much liked Jean de Floriet and Manon des Sources, directed by Claude Berri 20 years ago (two other literary adaptations). He is a very conservative, straightforward director, but he can produce some very vivid work. One very touching scene here is when Philibert goes to a speech therapist to cure his stutter. The therapist, Phillipe van Eeckhout, is one in real life and treated Berri after a recent stroke damaged his speaking ability.

So, we have no glamorous stars (though Audrey Tautou is big in France) and no shimmering background. But it's a warm-hearted story with some real emotion and, dare I say it, a happy ending. And here's something for the nit-pickers. Franck would never have got to London from the Gare du Lyon (except via the connecting suburban RER line). Paris - London trains leave from the magnificent Gare du Nord. But who cares?

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22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A good adaptation of an excellent book.

Author: julchinda from Russian Federation
23 December 2007

I liked the film. Though it differs from the novel by Anna Gavalda. I imagined a bit another Franck, but Guillaume Canet is so charming, and I must admit that he perfectly fits his part. Audrey Tautou isn't the best Camille... but I'm used to her being the "prima ballerina" of the French cinema... I reckon that are Philibert (Laurent Stocker) and Franck (Guillaume Canet) who make the whole film worth watching. And of course I must admit Tautou's good acting. All the actors beautified the film. It's no use retelling the plot. It's not a detective story with millions of turns up. This film speaks about life. And you know, read the book first. That's my advice. The film isn't as good as its original. But nothing's perfect! And if you want to form your own opinion (not the director's one) about Camille, Franck, Philibert, Paulette...... both read and watch.

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28 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

I adore this movie!!!

Author: mike-euro from Australia
13 November 2007

What a pleasant surprise this film turned out to be! After about 25 mins, i was totally hooked into this quartet of terrific, subtly drawn characters. What could have been a fairly stock- standard, 'everyone-comes-together-in-Paris' type of comedy-drama, is elevated by great performances (the always gorgeous Audrey Tautou and the impressive Guilliame Canet in particular), considered production design & a script that doesn't take the easy way out and continually defies your expectations.

Wholly charming, this is a great romantic fable, hugely fun, and should appeal to anyone who wants a thoughtful yet enjoyable trip to the cinema.

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19 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A Nutshell Review: Hunting and Gathering

Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
15 October 2007

It's Audrey Tautou, and ever since Amelie, I am of the opinion that Singaporeans have an affinity for the pint sized actress, and her box office draw here is fairly strong. Count me in as one of the fans who will lap up her cinematic outings, good or bad, so long as our heroine gets the opportunity to shine on screen.

Hunting and Gathering is based on a novel by Anna Gavalda, and tells the story of four individuals whose lives converge in an apartment. In this movie directed by Claude Berri, I thought that it was split into 3 acts, with story arcs focused on the challenges faced by each of the characters. Tautou stars as Camille Fauque, a near anorexic surface engineer who smokes a lot, guzzles alcohol, but eats very little. Living alone in a small attic of an apartment block, she meets Philibert (Laurent Stocker), a fellow neighbour who suffers from bouts of anxiety. Philibert's housemate Franck (Guillaume Canet) is a chef who lives hard and fast, whose only worry is the welfare of his grandmother Paulette (Francoise Bertin), a senior citizen who fears being tossed aside by kin, and makes life quite difficult for her caretakers.

The narrative is quite plain actually, with every conceivable development being very predictable. That means no quirky twists and turns for the sake of it, and it actually allows you to shift to lower gears to enjoy this outing. It's a story about having dreams, fulfilling them, and helping others to fulfill theirs too, through encouragement and support rendered. Having all four characters together under one roof, though brief it might be, did seem like an episode of Friends gone all French and all whacked with the age grouping, and proving correct the adage that two's a company and three's a crowd.

It did try to cover a lot of ground given that there are a number of characters here, but it did so at the expense of depth. The romance entanglements between characters did seem rather superficial, bland, trivial and predictable, while Philibert's quest to stem out his stammering through stage acting unfortunately had to take the backseat, and thus having his character fade away somewhat for the last act of the movie. The most meaningful and beautiful arc here belongs to Francoise Bertin's Paulette, as her tale of fear of abandonment rings through very honestly, and somehow, you'll start to wonder when you're of old age, whether you will have companions whom you can get along with, or be forgotten and tossed to some old folks' home to spend your twilight years in. I felt that it was superiorly poignant, without which there would be no emotional anchor for this movie.

Somehow, movies that feature food and classy restaurants (Ratatouille, Mostly Martha and No Reservations anyone?) of late that I've watched always have fallen into the clichéd ending. I'm unsure if it's an unwritten rule to have it done so, or if it's a formula that has proved to work every time. But in all earnestness, I thought it ended quite nicely with that happily ever after feel. In summary, definitely worth a watch for the eye candy cast, but it plays like a generic romantic / friendship tale that possesses potential that was hardly scratched.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Thoroughly enjoyable

Author: bonimdb from Canada
16 July 2008

From beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Every member of the cast was excellent but I particularly loved Guillaume Canet. I first saw him in Jeux d'enfants and fell in love with him (who wouldn't?). As for Audrey Tautou, I finally saw what all the fuss was about. I have seen Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, but I didn't care for it at all.

I only wish that this film had been longer so that we could have been better acquainted with Philibert since he was such an interesting character.

I also loved Françoise Bertin's performance as it was very touching. I identified with the struggle that many of us face in trying to care for someone and trying to earn a living.

All in all, a very commendable film.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Romantic Movie with a different treatment

Author: princebansal1982 from India
7 June 2011

Ensemble, c'est tout is an enjoyable romantic movie. The basic premise is of romantic comedy, but the treatment is different. There are lot of dramatic elements thrown in and the characters are given a long time to establish themselves in their given roles.

Audrey Tautou is one of my favorite actresses and she has done a wonderful job as always. But her performance is very similar to what she has done in other films and frankly I am getting a little bit tired of it. I mean it is wonderful but I would like to see her do something else too. She has been doing the Amelie act for a long time now.

Nothing is really new in the movie but execution is different, which kept me hooked. All in all, a very enjoyable movie.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Actors save the show

Author: blugrin87
27 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Vaguely interesting movie about life, but I felt it was made fascinating only due to the charisma of its two leads, the wonderful Guillaume Canet and the irrepressible Audrey Tautou. Had the leads been given to any other actor with considerable less charm, the movie would have sank. The character's central conflict is not firmly established, and watching the plot develop was equivalent to swimming in an open sea: direction-less. The happy ending was completely expected but heartwarming all the same; I just wished they had brought out the narrative motive more convincingly for me to feel like there was a point to this whole movie. The pacing was also a little too slow, and the nondescript dialog emphasized the lengthy duration of the movie.

On a whole, I felt the director could have done a lot better with the movie by giving it greater focus, faster pacing, wittier dialog- there were quite a few moments in the film between Tautou and Canet's characters that could have done better with wittier dialog.

A must-watch only for the actors' fans.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Ensemble, c'est tout

Author: film_riot from Austria
16 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Ensemble, c'est tout" is a lightweight of a film, but nevertheless it portrays one in hundreds of generations, each of which fights the conflict of how to manage a good life. Do you follow your dreams, or won't it be possible? Do you let a twist of fate interfere with your dream? Laurent Stocker's character Philibert has to struggle with a speech impediment, but still wants to be an actor and a comedian. He was the standout for me in this movie. How do you reach your life targets when you don't even have the time to set them in our modern society? Guillaume Canet's character is disoriented like so many people around us. Is escaping some of the social constraints a way to really be able to live today? Is communication between the generations possible? Audrey Tautou's and Françoise Bertin's characters try to gain answers to these questions. To conclude, Claude Berri made a very nice film, for which he also adapted the screenplay from a novel by Anna Gavalda.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Full House

Author: writers_reign
6 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Claude Berri is a director who often seems on the verge of becoming a name outside France but somehow doesn't quite make it. His films are interesting - One Leaves, The Other Stays - to excellent - Lucie Aubrac with very little dross. Now he's taken a popular French novel and cast Audrey Tautou in a lead for which she's almost but not quite suited. She plays a gifted anorexic artist who has elected to work as a cleaner to her mother's disappointment. She becomes friendly with an eccentric aristocrat, Laurent Stocker, who lives in an immense apartment which he shares more or less unaccountably with a surly chef, Guillaume Canet. When he realizes that Camille (Tautou) is ill Philbert (Stocker) takes her to live in his apartment and nurses her back to health, this allows for the Benedict and Beatrice element between Tautou and womanizer Canet who also has an elderly grandmother in hospital. Against the odds the three form a bond and bring the grandmother into the menage when she leaves hospital and that's about it. Stocker, who generates all of the action tends to become low man on his own totem pole so that his own development as an actor who finds his own romance takes something of a back seat to Tautou and Canet. Never less than interesting it doesn't quite make it to the next level.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Together, that's all

Author: jotix100 from New York
24 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Claude Berri, a director whose body of work shows some successes like "Jean de Florette" and "Manon des sources", is at it again with this new comedy targeted for the middle of the road French audience that will, undoubtedly, love his new offering. The comedy, which is mildly entertaining, could be considered a "date movie" because it offers a safe kind of entertainment with some pleasing faces that audiences will easily identify with.

Such is the case of Audrey Tautou, an actress that was elevated to almost sainthood after her "Amelie" success. Ms. Tautou is an actress that will deliver under a firm direction, as she shows in here. Her Camille is not exactly one of the best things in her career, but suffice it to say, she is one of the main interest for watching this Gallic offering that might be optioned for a Hollywood remake in the not too distant future.

Guillaume Canet, an actor who wowed us with his direction of "Ne le dis a personne", is seen as Franck, a young cook that takes a job in Paris and will become Camille's love interest. His flat mate is Philibert, an insecure soul that is trying to deal with his problems: he appears to be gay and he stutters badly. Philibert is played by Laurent Stocker, a member of then prestigious Comedy Francaise. The best thing in the film though, is veteran Francoise Bertin, who shows up as Franck's grandmother and steals the film. Ms. Bertin shows why she has been a glory of the French cinema for so long.

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