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Poster of A Very Long Engagement   (2004)

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.

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A Very Long Engagement (2004)
Un long dimanche de fiançailles (original title)

a 2003 Productions, Warner Bros. and Tapioca Films Production in France and USA

STARS Audrey Tautou Gaspard Ulliel Dominique Pinon Chantal Neuwirth André Dussollier Ticky Holgado Marion Cotillard Dominique Bettenfeld Jodie Foster Jean-Pierre Darroussin Clovis Cornillac Jean-Pierre Becker Denis Lavant Jérôme Kircher Albert Dupontel

Drama | Mystery | Romance | War

Rated R

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Sexy, Sex and Nude Scenes

A few sex scenes with associated nudity. Be advised that this may not be suitable for younger audiences.

Violent and Bloody Scenes

Various WWI violence. Some murders, one quite graphic, one which involves pieces of glass plunging into the body of a man.

Scary and Disturbing Scenes

This is a graphic war movie. Nothing suddenly frightening, but quite intense episodes showing the violence of war.

Review

This is one of those times that a rating system breaks down. I gave this film a "10" only because there were no "20's" available.

This film, in its own way, seems to be able to fire on those same diverse cylinders that William Shakespeare so often did. It's a light and airy comedy. It's the bitterest of tragedies. It's a beautiful romance. It's an unfolding mystery. At it's heart it is a film of war. War, in all its boiling chaos, touches on all those experiences and more.

When I left the theater I was both elated and depressed. My elation came from having just had such a pure cinematic experience. My depression came from glancing at the marquee and reminding myself that I'll have to survive on the sort of cinema half-life provided by the pablum that normally makes it to the screen. Every now and again it's great to be reminded just how good a movie can be.