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Declaration of War (2011)
"La guerre est déclarée" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  31 August 2011 (France)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,698 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 9 user | 105 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

When their young son is diagnosed with a brain tumor, young parents Roméo and Juliette unite in the fight for his survival.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Juliette
Jérémie Elkaïm ...
Roméo Benaïm
César Desseix ...
Adam Benaïm à 18 mois
Gabriel Elkaïm ...
Adam Benaïm à 8 ans
Brigitte Sy ...
Claudia Benaïm - la mère de Roméo
Elina Löwensohn ...
Alex - la compagne de Claudia
Michèle Moretti ...
Geneviève - la mère de Juliette
Philippe Laudenbach ...
Philippe - le père de Juliette
Bastien Bouillon ...
Nikos
Béatrice de Staël ...
Le docteur Ghislaine Prat - la pédiatre
Anne Le Ny ...
Le docteur Fitoussi - la neuropédiatre
...
Le professeur Sainte-Rose
Elisabeth Dion ...
Le docteur Kalifa - de l'IGR
Pauline Gaillard ...
Un narrateur (voice)
Philippe Barassat ...
Un narrateur (voice)
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Storyline

Roméo and Juliette are two young actors. They fall in love at first sight, move in together and make a baby. A love story and the founding of a home like millions of others. Except that their little boy, Adam, behaves abnormally. The young parents try hard to persuade themselves that everything is okay but, with the passing of time, they cannot delude themselves anymore : their son has problem. Their fears are unfortunately confirmed : Adam suffers from a malignant brain tumor. From now on, war is declared. A war against illness. A war against Death. A war against despair. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 August 2011 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Declaración de guerra  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$12,791 (USA) (27 January 2012)

Gross:

$46,225 (USA) (9 March 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The hospital scenes are played both by professional players and real-life hospital staff. See more »

Connections

Features Liquid Crystals (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Eje Mater, fons Amoris. Largo
Composed by Antonio Vivaldi
Performed by Andreas Scholl with Ensemble 415
Conducted by Chiara Banchini
(P) 2011 Harmonia Mundi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Death to death!
29 December 2011 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

This is an incredible movie. Just imagine: two young people are attracted to each other, live together happily until they realize the child they have had happens to suffer from a particularly malignant brain tumor, a fact abruptly plunging them into a terrible four-year ordeal, leading them to breakup because of the hardships inherent in the situation, only to..., some time later,... make a film out of this excruciating experience! And not only do they write the story and direct (at least the woman) but they play their own characters as well, carefully replicating a reality that almost destroyed them. How courageous, how daring! A move close to sheer madness... How on earth can one go through the pangs of such an unbearable ordeal... TWICE? And how the devil can one make such a luminous film, able to deal with such a risky subject without falling into the many traps it contains? And how can one manage to give people hope and confidence by talking about death during most of a film? Well, miracles exist, since Valérie Donzelli (director, writer, main actress, makeup artist and hair stylist!) and her former life companion Jérémie Elkaïm (co-writer, main actor) have done just that with "La guerre est déclarée", giving an example that such a feat is within the realms of possibility.

They manage this achievement by immediately finding the right tone and by never falling out of tune afterward. A winning principle announced in the title "Declaration of War", for both the characters are seen fighting instead of crying and moaning. This does not mean they never express their suffering - how could they help it? - but it is the dynamics of their struggle that is put forward, not the apathy their grief and anxiety are likely to generate.

Valérie Donzelli is to be given special credit for her inspired direction. Not only does she pour her heart and soul into the filming of this painful chronicle but she also proves imaginative and creative, making use of an amazing variety of registers, devices and techniques which wind up making this movie unique: incongruous gags including during the most dramatic times; classic documentary (the way the little boy is treated in turns in Marseilles, in Paris and in Villejuif); original montages; inspired use of musical pieces creating the unexpected but effective cohabitation of Vivaldi, Delerue and pop music; resort to musical comedy (with the characters occasionally singing their feelings); use of metaphor (Juliette's disjointed run through the hospital corridor). And those examples are only a sample of all the personal touches Valérie Donzelli brings to this exceptional work.

Never indulging in pathos or sentimentality,"La guerre est déclarée" nevertheless contains very moving scenes or sequences, my personal favorite being the one in which the unfortunate couple, unable to find sleep on the night before their son's operation, tell each other their fears to best calm their fears.

A great shock, but a salutary one, "La guerre est déclarée", both the sincere account of a personal drama and a talented work of art for all, is one of the year 2011's masterpieces.


16 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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