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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.

Director:

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Writers:

Sébastien Japrisot (novel), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (story and adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,703 ( 478)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Audrey Tautou ... Mathilde
Gaspard Ulliel ... Manech
Dominique Pinon ... Sylvain
Chantal Neuwirth Chantal Neuwirth ... Bénédicte
André Dussollier ... Pierre-Marie Rouvières
Ticky Holgado ... Germain Pire
Marion Cotillard ... Tina Lombardi
Dominique Bettenfeld ... Ange Bassignano
Jodie Foster ... Elodie Gordes
Jean-Pierre Darroussin ... Benjamin Gordes (as Jean Pierre Darroussin)
Clovis Cornillac ... Benoît Notre-Dame
Jean-Pierre Becker Jean-Pierre Becker ... Esperanza (as Jean Pierre Becker)
Denis Lavant ... Six-Soux
Jérôme Kircher Jérôme Kircher ... Bastoche
Albert Dupontel ... Célestin Poux
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

French | German | Corsican

Release Date:

14 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Very Long Engagement See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$47,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Opening Weekend USA:

$101,749, 28 November 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,167,817, 27 February 2005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$70,115,868, 28 April 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the point where Mathilde is asked either by her uncle or her aunt about the fate of Manech, she responds that he might be held prisoner by the Germans, then he escaped and met a German woman with large breasts. This could either be a reference to La Grande Illusion (1937) or to La cuisine au beurre (1963). See more »

Goofs

The rural Breton cottage of 1916 has a telephone (which is probably unusual for the time), while outside views of the cottage reveal no telephone poles or wires. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

References All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) 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 bobolocoSee 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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