Farewell (2009)
"L'affaire Farewell" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 5,371 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 30 user | 73 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

The French intelligence service alerts the U.S. about a Soviet spy operation during the height of the Cold War, which sets off an unfortunate chain of events.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Philippe Magnan ...
Choukhov (as Oleksii Gorbunov)
Marc Berman ...
Christian Carion ...
Evgeniy Kharlanov ...
Igor (as Yevgeni Kharlanov)
Lauriane Riquet ...


In 1985, Sergei Gregoriev, a Soviet colonel, wants to force his nation to reform, so he leaks secret information to the West. He picks an unlikely contact, a Pierre Froment, French nebbish in the diplomatic corps. Gregoriev keeps a lot of balls in the air - a marriage, a teen son he's trying to bond with, a mistress who's a colleague at work; his tradecraft is equally reckless. Meanwhile, Froment keeps his spy work secret from his German wife, and Mitterrand uses Gregoriev's information to make France indispensable to Reagan and his government. When Gregoriev leaks a list of key Soviet moles and spies, Gorbachev is left without secret intelligence. Will Gregoriev get what he wants? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spy | french | cold war | france | aids | See All (15) »


Secrets have the power to change the course of history.


Drama | Thriller


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Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

23 September 2009 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Farewell  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


€17,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alexander Avdeev (Russian ambassador in France who became Russian Culture Minister and who had been expelled from France in 1983 because of Farewell) blocked most Russian actors to play in this movie, including Sergey Makovetskiy and Nikita Mikhalkov, because he did not want to back a movie about a Russian traitor. He also blocked authorizations to film in Moscow, while most of the plot takes place in Moscow. Christian Carion had to pretend to film a Coca Cola advertisement for the few images of the city. See more »


There is a picture of General Secretary L.Breznev on the wall in the border crossing office. Actually the General Secretary was Andropov or Chernenko in that time. See more »


Features The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) See more »


Run Like Hell
Performed by Pink Floyd
See more »

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User Reviews

Super understated slow boiler (Spy Game Plus)
5 May 2011 | by (hell) – See all my reviews

Farewell is a spy drama set in Moscow/Russia in the early 1980's. It stars Guillaume Canet and Emir Custarica, both noted directors in their own rights.It is based on real events with the basic story correct though the nature of the two leading characters and a few events are somewhat changed or omitted.

The plot centres around the leaking of Russian intelligence to the French government. Sergei (Canet) works for the Russian secret service but has been recruited by (or volunteered to) the French government to pass intelligence data from his office. Sergei is doing this for purely moral reasons arguing that it will one day bring the system down and give his son a better future. His contact is a French engineer working in Moscow, Pierre, coerced in to helping by the French government and operating as Sergei's dropping point. The story develops around the personal relationship between Sergei and Pierre and also that of their families. Sergei is confident and casual but ultimately a little careless. While Pierre becomes paranoid and with his young family in tow begins to feel the stress.

The data turns out to industrial espionage on everything from the Space Shuttle to the US defence strategy and even secret communication codes. When the American are shown the information by the French (in a neat piece of one-upmanship) it is only a matter of time before action has to be taken and lives are in danger.

The pace is slow and constant and never flat. Tantalisingly delicate, a very light brush from the director allows the actors to communicate in manner rarely seen in Hollywood films. Similar with the cinematography which is used sparingly and always to accentuate the story. Watch out for the early scene where they first meet which simply says 'spies'. Then the scenes of northern Russia in winter.

This is a very smart film with excellent understated performances from all the cast. Watch out for several more famous actors in cameo and small roles. Fred Ward playing Ronald Reagan looks positively weird though they get away with it.

If you arrived here before viewing be sure, it is well worth watching. Spy Game plus.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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