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Villa des Roses

2.6 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Julie Delpy, Shaun Dingwall, Harriet Walter, Shirley Henderson, Timothy West
  • Directors: Frank Van Passel
  • Writers: Frank Van Passel, Christophe Dirickx, Willem Elsschot
  • Producers: Claude Waringo, Dirk Impens, Els Vandevorst, Jani Thiltges
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Allumination
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A0GPKE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,385 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Villa des Roses" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert L. Hiner on April 4, 2006
Format: DVD
Some of us rely too much on movie critics for guidance. Villa de Roses is a case in point for me. Luckily, I hadn't read the early reviews in advance. I tried this movie for no other reason than Julie Delpy. I had enjoyed her performances in the two "Before" movies with Ethan Hawke and wanted to sample her work in a different role.

On the surface, Villa was a variation on old themes. A needful, romantically vulnerable woman is left in the lurch by a free spirit who opts for status and largesse. When there is no going back and the man is facing oblivion, this former lover is left with profound feelings of loss. Another man, decent and needful in the same way as the woman, is on the sidelines barely noticed. We are left reflecting on what might have been if the right connection had been made. Each member of the larger cast of characters in the Villa is facing his or her own interwoven existential challenges. Their struggles are evidence that life is hard. One makes a point of this in his suicide note.

I gave this film four instead of five stars because of its unrelenting melancholy. It is a downer in the traditional sense and that is enough usually to put me off. But this movie is so vividly real, so true to life, it has to be appreciated. The "production values," as a Hollywood commentator might say, are outstanding. The script is good, really good, but the directing and acting add the depth and subtlety that make the characters and events intensely recognizable and real. Julie Delpy was splendid in this different kind of role (as opposed to "Before Sunrise). Shirley Henderson was especially skillful in her part as the lead character's caring friend. If there were nothing else to recommend, her performance alone made watching the movie worthwhile.
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Format: DVD
VILLA DES ROSES, based on the novel by Willem Elsschot, is a strange and claustrophobic examination of life in a confined space in Paris 1912-1913. Director Frank Van Passel has surrounded his production with excellent scenery, effects, camera work and a cast of gifted actors to tell this bizarre tale of Europe on the brink of The Great War.

Villa des Roses is a dilapidated mansion in Paris that serves as a hotel for an astonishingly seedy group of people. The hotel is 'managed' by a British man and wife Olive (Harriet Walter) and Hugh (Timothy West) who barely eek out a living from their irregular tenants. The one person apparently most in the know is Ella (Shirley Henderson) who is the Cook General and has access to all of the nooks and crannies via a spying system of tubes: she knows all the secrets of all of those housed in the Villa. It is an odd asylum for the British and for varied oddball, lost souls and disillusioned, loony guests in the midst of a rundown Paris.

Enter Louise Créteur (Julie Delphy), recently widowed by the Titanic sinking, who has left her young son behind to seek work in Paris. She gains employment at the Villa des Roses as the Chamber Maid, under strict instruction by Olive to not fraternize with the guests. But one of the tenants, Richard Grünewald (Shaun Dingwall) is a lady's man and soon the two have started a love affair that leads to the tragic end of the story. Richard loathes children, is not at all happy that Louise has a son (though she vows to give up everything for her love for Richard), and when Louise becomes pregnant, Richard cools and encourages an abortion.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
"Villa Des Roses" is beautifully filmed, and capably acted; but do not be fooled by its romantic sounding title. This is one long bout of misery.

In this dilapidated old boarding house, no one truly seems to be nice to anyone. I take that back: The mysterious guest who likes to do nude calisthenics tries to protect the vulnerable new chambermaid, a young widow, from the resident cad. However, he does not warn the right person; he tries to appeal to the scoundrel's humanity but he apparently has none.

The other moment of kindness is when the old woman who is abused or neglected by all, feeds a bit of an orange to a small monkey. And that's it.

Other than those two brief moments, this one film contains a suicide, an abortion, and multiple acts of cruelty. We are supposed to care that the scoundrel decides he 'really does love' the chambermaid after all; he's apparently unaware that love is a verb, not a noun. Either way he does not know the meaning of the word; and the film's final failing is attempting to place our sympathies with him rather than with anyone who actually might deserve them.

It is a shame the writing is so dark and bleak; it lacks the passion to even be cynical. The actors do a fine job, and the film is well cast, with talented art direction and evocative cinematography. I would not recommend this to anyone who doesn't like to imagine themselves in a bathtub with a straight razor at the end of the film.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This story is a slice from the life of a young French woman. She has lost her husband in WW I. She leaves the village where she is living and moves to Paris. There, she is a chambermaid for a woman who owns a boarding house/hotel which is "Villa des Roses". She meets a man who is there and they begin a close relationship and she becomes pregnant. The story goes on but I will not reveal it to those who will watch in the future. I enjoyed the acting in this film and especially Delpy's. She is wistfully lovely and fragile but shows an inner strength. This story is a bit depressing and sad and one does not see a bright future for the young woman. I wanted to see her end up with a happier life, but as is typical in French films, the ending is more realistic than happy. Would not want to watch it if I were feeling sad.
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