Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

02 January 2005

Three to Go

Tonight I saw A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche des Fiançailles), the new film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Jeunet uses the same tactic he used in 2001's Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulin, which is basically giving us loads and loads of information ancillary to the central story in order both to show the interconnectedness of all life and to add emotional weight to his tale. I thought that Cuarón did something similar with Y Tu Mamá También to great success. This storytelling device worked splendidly in Amélie, which I'm sure everyone has seen. The additional information made the story even more charming than it already was and served to point out how we can often take small, very precious things for granted. This tangential information serves pretty much the same purpose in Engagement and has an equally successful effect. Engagement is a charming film in its own way but is as far from a comedy as genre gets. It's a war movie through and through. It's also a fascinating mystery and an intelligent, gripping, love story that is never schmaltzy or sentimental.
This is a film that is never boring, incredibly charming, though surprisingly sober, and still manages to show the horrors and evils of war. It's not All Quiet on the Western Front and it doesn't want to be, but it's also an excellent film about World War I. Definitely recommended.

All that is left are The Polar Express, The Merchant of Venice and Hotel Rwanda.

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