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The Widow of Saint-Pierre (2000)

Juliette Binoche , Daniel Auteuil , Patrice Leconte  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Emir Kusturica, Michel Duchaussoy, Philippe Magnan
  • Directors: Patrice Leconte
  • Writers: Patrice Leconte, Claude Faraldo
  • Producers: Daniel Louis, Denise Robert, Frédéric Brillion, Gilles Legrand
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2001
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005N89H
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,481 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Widow of Saint-Pierre" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Featurette
  • Commentary

Editorial Reviews

Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil. Powerful drama of a man sentenced to die in 19th century French Canada who rehabilitates himself, causing doubt in his would-be executioners. In French with English subtitles. 2000/color/108 min/R/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(45)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
142 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic, multilayered, and sweepingly romantic. May 4, 2001
"The Widow of Saint-Pierre" is one of those brooding, romantic costume dramas that only the French seem to do well these days. Far from being escapist fare, it is a dark, often profound meditation on the human condition and the vagaries of the human heart. In 1849, on the remote French island of Saint-Pierre off the coast of Newfoundland, an illiterate fisherman commits a drunken, senseless murder and is sentenced to the guillotine. But since the island has no guillotine, the governor must send for one--a process that will take years. Meanwhile, the fisherman is imprisoned in the island fortress; the wife of the garrison commander takes pity on the condemned man, and sets out to rehabilitate him, with the help (at first reluctant, later wholehearted) of her loving husband. Soon the captain and his wife are defying the governor in their attempts to help the condemned man--with tragic consequences. "The Widow of Saint-Pierre" works on several levels: as a romantic drama; as a denunciation of capital punishment and the cruelty of confusing the letter of the law with justice; and as a brilliant delineation of the nature of love, courage and self-sacrifice. Eduardo Serra's photography of the wintry landscape of Saint-Pierre (actually Nova Scotia) is marvelous, and the acting deserves the highest praise. By now, of course, everyone knows how exquisite Juliette Binoche is, and she is as good as ever here. But the thespian honors in this movie go to Daniel Auteuil, an actor of masterful subtlety and power, who makes Gerard Depardieu look like a double order of "jambon a' l'os."
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality film with poignant story and excellent acting. December 19, 2003
Format:DVD
Set in 1849 on the Island of Saint Pierre off the coast of Canada, this 2001 French film is a sad and human drama about love, sin and redemption. The film starts with a senseless murder and a death sentence for the culprit, played by Emir Kustuica. However, the execution must be carried out by guillotine, which is referred to as "the widow" and there is no such instrument of death in the town. It has to be sent by ship from a French Island in the Caribbean. And this could take as long as a year.
The prisoner is under the control of a Captain, played by Daniel Auteuil. He is deeply in love with his wife, played by Juliette Binoche. There are some tender scenes of their lovemaking as well as scenes in which it is clear that he adores her and respects her in all ways. And so, when she sets out to reform the convicted murderer, he supports her wish. The convicted man is allowed out of his prison cell and accompanies her all over the province. He helps out the townspeople and works with her to plant a garden and learns to read. He even impregnates a local woman and marries her. Everyone in the town grows to admire this man and nobody wants the execution to take place.
What will happen? I was drawn into the story and, along with the townspeople, I too hoped he would eventually get his freedom. But the story is not as simple as that. And, as the tension heightened and moved towards its conclusion, I found myself clearly upset as I saw the way it was going.
This is a good film. The story and acting and cinematography are all excellent. It moved a little too slowly for my taste, however. And I found it hard to believe that the condemned man would be given so much freedom to move around the town. But this doesn't detract from the quality of the film, the empathy I felt throughout for all the characters or the subtleties of characterization that made the story seem real and poignant.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect love makes perfection in all. February 18, 2005
Format:DVD
I find it odd that when reviewing the reviews of this film that people seem to either give it perfect or abysmal scores. The dichotomy of opinion is probably a direct result of the skill and immense power of Leconte's images, (especially those that his chosen actress affords us).

Leconte is a master and quite possibly the greatest living auteur currently making films. His movies often contain a refreshing difficulty that gives one hope that images still mean something, that film is still worthy of being explicated, that someone still cares enough to think that much without being overly clever such as the Coens and Anderson. I shouldn't say still. I should say is and will be, as Leconte is on a different level than any who has ever worked including Kieslowski (the master of images). I enjoy how Leconte has said that although it was his second period piece he approached the film as if that had nothing to do with it, learning from "Ridicule". I should point that out I have no problem with "Ridicule" and the fact that it is a period piece has a great deal to do with the presentation, but I can see what he meant. Like I said, I enjoy the statement, but I should also point out I'm a jerk.

Binoche and Auteuil are two of my favorite actors and this film shows them at their virtuosic best. They deliver amazing performances of a truly passionate couple who both hold unconditional love for the other which in itself contains ultimate trust of decision and character. Possibly more Auteuil's for Binoche's but the sympathy generated by his character fuels her as an equally sharing partner, making any difference negligible. There is a third character, Neel, but he is there only to accentuate the relationship between the other two.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed hearing the French to see what words I could ...
Clearly worth watching, this movie developed to a climax of intensity and anticipation. I enjoyed hearing the French to see what words I could recognize and comprehend.
Published 15 days ago by Judith Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Many interwoven and intriguing stories in this film. Acting and cinematography superb.
Published 23 days ago by JOHN
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting Period Film
This is a haunting period film that gives insight into justice in 19th century France. I chose to see the film because the setting used the reconstructed Fortress Louisboroug in... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Timothy J. Palkovic
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't evenwatch 10 minutes of this film without laughing
Do we really need to know the sound a horse makes??? The sound a bell makes?? Give me a break. Couldn't even watch 10 minutes of this film without laughing. Don't waste your money.
Published 1 month ago by Hillarys Antiques
4.0 out of 5 stars Feench Canadian historical film
A very interesting story based on a true event. Wonderful acting.
Published 1 month ago by Karen S. Gruntman
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully-made film
On a French island off Newfoundland, Neel Auguste is sentenced to death by guillotine for a drunken homicide. The Captain is in charge of the prisoner. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joyce
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good product and service.
Published 2 months ago by PatB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great historical fiction. Twists and intrigue and wonderful acting.
Published 2 months ago by Thomas Kaim
2.0 out of 5 stars A movie about being stupid.
Which one takes the prize? Is it the out of control, bored housewife who keeps interfering in police business, or the dumbbell chief of police husband who allows her to do it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by microdoc
1.0 out of 5 stars Could not view it
It was subtitled and we had no warning of that. We instantly shut it off and were blessed with the Amazon charge anyway. Another waste of time and money on Amazon Prime.
Published 3 months ago by Dr. Wayne D. Samuelson
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