A Very Long Engagement (English Subtitled) 2004 R CC

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(183) IMDb 7.7/10
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Near the end of World War I in France, five nearly hopeless men shoot themselves in order to escape the horror of the frontline trenches at the Somme.

Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel
2 hours, 14 minutes

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A Very Long Engagement (English Subtitled)

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Romance, International, Mystery
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel
Supporting actors 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, Jean-Paul Rouve, Elina Löwensohn, Julie Depardieu, Michel Vuillermoz, Urbain Cancelier
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

There are so many things to say, and most of it has been said by others much better than I can.
Bob Dog
Director Jeunet creates beautiful scenes all wrapped in his trademark sepia tones that makes the visuals take on a surreal, almost dreamy effect.
B. Ackley
Beautiful cinematography, excellent acting, unforgettable characters, gorgeous scenery, humor, drama, action - this film has it all.
paul k.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

292 of 301 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 17, 2005
My understanding is that France has declined to submit A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT for Oscar consideration as 2004's Best Foreign Film. I can't imagine why.

War is not glorious. Especially if you're Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), a young French soldier convicted by a military court, along with four others, of committing self-mutilation with the intent of escaping service in the front lines of World War I. The punishment is grotesque. Rather than death by firing squad, the five are forced over the top of the most forward trench and into the No Man's Land between the French and German positions - there to die by whatever bullet, mortar shell, or bomb strikes them down. The subsequent deaths of all five are attested to. Letters are sent to surviving family members by the French authorities saying their boys died in battle. This was in 1917.

Mathilde (Audrey Tatou) was Manech's fiancée when he marched off to war. She's also crippled in one leg after having been afflicted with polio at a very young age. In 1920, she's contacted by a dying survivor of the war, ex-Sergeant Esperanza (Jean-Pierre Becker), who'd been in charge of the provost detail assigned to escort the five condemned men to the front trench, as well as act as carrier of the last missive each was permitted to write home. He tells Mathilde of their bizarre fate, and gives her their last letters, which he's kept since the war's end. Using these and the veteran's story to provide clues, Mathilde embarks on a lengthy search for the truth behind Manech's death with the help of a private investigator (Ticky Holgado). Interviewing friends, family members, and lovers of Marech's four condemned companions, as well as other soldiers present in the trench, Mathilde needs to answer the question, "Is Manech truly dead?
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 17, 2004
Sure, the name is an open target for dumb jokes. But Sébastien Japrisot's haunting romance "A Very Long Engagement" translates well onto the big screen, with a bit of help from "Amelie" director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the wonderful Audrey Tautou.

Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) is a pretty young girl who was left crippled by polio, and is being raised by her uncle and aunt. Before World War I, she fell in love with a boy called Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), but he was sent to the war and killed. Three years later, Mathilde gets a mysterious letter with shocking news: Manech was not killed in action, but condemned to death by being sent unarmed to the front lines -- and miraculously, he might still be alive.

Mathilde is determined to find her lover -- dead or alive -- and learn what really happened on that day three years ago. So she puts out ads in the papers, gathers accounts, and hires a detective to follow the cold trail. And slowly the gaps in the stories emerge, giving Mathilde clues to whether Manech died... and where he might be now.

"A Very Long Engagement" (French title: "Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles") diddles a few details from the novel, but is faithful to it in the ways that matter -- the "MMM" inscriptions, the non-linear storytelling, the horrors of World War I. In some ways, it seems almost impossible to transfer onto film without creating a pretentious mess -- but it wasn't.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet proves that "Amelie" was no fluke, but this time he relies mostly on visual artistry, rather than in magical realism. He also reminds us, by displaying the French countryside along with flashbacks of the front lines, that war is stupid and wasteful. But it's not an obvious, slam-in-your-face reminder. Like the romance, it's delicate and wistful.
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108 of 117 people found the following review helpful By girldiver on January 15, 2005
Yes, I said, "lush". This movie visually encompasses the colors found in our most beautiful dreams and yet is in many aspects reflective in it's depiction of WWI through the eyes of the French. It is an epic tale of romantic hope during WWI that follows the investigative journey of a young woman named Mathilde played by Audrey Tatou (Amelie, Dirty Pretty Things) who is trying to find out what has happened to her lover.

Several plots are played out through out Mathildes' search. At first you blindly follow the scenes and then slowly the stories become knitted together as you discover along with Mathilde the truth her loves circumstance. I enjoyed the interweaving of the story and the wonderful directing that held this movie together so well by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Alien Resurrection).

Most of all, I loved the cinematography. Thank you, Bruno Delbonnel! Mr. Delbonnel (The Cat's Meow, Amelie) created the visually lush colors in this film with his wonderful talent in the art of cinematoghraphy. This film is lush and beautiful with it's fabulous color in the country scenes to it dramatic sephia effect during the war scenes. Together with Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Mr. Delbonnel has created a wonderful film and piece of art.

Finally, I'd like to mention the supporting actors associated with this film: Jodie Foster, Julie Depardieu, Marion Cotillard, Gaspard Ulliel, Tcheky Karyo, and Clovis Cornillac. This is a wonderful french film with depth, beauty, hope, and like all the French films I've seen a quirky sense of humor that enhances the wonderful art of life.

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