- 1h 47min
During the early years of Nazi occupation of France in World War II, romance blooms between Lucile Angellier (Michelle Williams), a French villager, and Lieutenant Bruno von Falk (Matthias S... Read allDuring the early years of Nazi occupation of France in World War II, romance blooms between Lucile Angellier (Michelle Williams), a French villager, and Lieutenant Bruno von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts), a German soldier.During the early years of Nazi occupation of France in World War II, romance blooms between Lucile Angellier (Michelle Williams), a French villager, and Lieutenant Bruno von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts), a German soldier.
The author of the original story, Irene Nemirovsky, was tragically sent to her death at the hands of the invading German army following bitter fighting during the occupation of France in 1942. Her husband, before he also was executed, gave their daughter Denise his wife's manuscripts. Denise, for emotional reasons did not read her mother's writings till an astounding 60yrs later. She eventually had them compiled into a novel that was published in 2002 - becoming an international best seller. Story rights were then sold for production as a screenplay. Denise sadly died just before the films release. To play the main protagonist producers cast Michele Williams (My week With Marilyn '11) mother to the late Heath Ledgers daughter. Considering some of William's earlier roles she is nothing short of remarkable - turning in a convincingly measured performance as the repressed Lucile Angellier.
This is more than a conventional wartime romantic movie as it deals realistically with the shocking impact of oppression and the devastating consequences it brings to all involved. Perhaps had the film makers paid a little less attention to the screenplays various sexual intrigues, they may have been able to treat us to those deleted scenes detailing the fascinating real life story - involving the writers daughter discovering her mothers work all those years after the event!. Director and co-screenplay writer Saul Dibb along with collaborating writer Matt Charman - join forces with director of photography Eduard Grau to create some remarkably atmospheric scenes. One well executed sequence featuring endless lines of displaced French families fleeing the relentless onslaught on foot, is a sad and dramatic sight.
Those who remain in their homes are met with enforced billeting of German Officers - this brings out the worst of human nature with neighboring villagers sending notes 'rating' on their fellow neighbor's to gain favour from the Germans - a shocking act indeed. Music plays a key role throughout the film with a romantic piano soliloquy composed by Alexandre Desplate played throughout. The exciting accompanying action score is contributed by Rael Jones. Overall this is a sincere portrait of a dreadful time in human history and while the the script may falter in several situations it's far more thoughtful than some other offerings along these lines. Performances are strong with a sterling cast of professionals working at their peak.
Note: This film is remarkably similar to an earlier production, staring the great Maria Schell "So Little Time" '52" - this marvelous classic film has recently been released on DVD in England and is more than well worth locating.
- Jul 30, 2016