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Very Long Engagement
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A Very Long Engagement

4.2 13
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Cast: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Jean-Pierre Becker

Audrey Tautou, who rose to international stardom with the title role in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's worldwide smash Amélie, reunites with the director for this drama, set during the darkest days of World War I and its immediate aftermath. Mathilde (Tautou) is a pretty but frail young women who was left with a bad leg after a childhood bout with polio. Mathilde lives


Audrey Tautou, who rose to international stardom with the title role in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's worldwide smash Amélie, reunites with the director for this drama, set during the darkest days of World War I and its immediate aftermath. Mathilde (Tautou) is a pretty but frail young women who was left with a bad leg after a childhood bout with polio. Mathilde lives in a small French village with her Aunt Bénédicte (Chantal Neuwirth) and Uncle Sylvain (Dominique Pinon), and is engaged to marry Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), the son of a lighthouse keeper who is fighting with the army near the German front. Manech is one of five soldiers who have been accused of injuring themselves in order to be sent home; in order to discourage similar behavior among their comrades, Manech and the other soldiers are sentenced to death, and the condemned men are marched into the no man's land between the French and German lines, where they are certain to be killed. Mathilde receives word of Manech's death, but in her heart she believes that if the man she loved had been killed, she would know it and feel it. Convinced he's still alive somewhere, Mathilde hires a private detective (Ticky Holgado) shortly after the end of the war, and together they set out to find the missing Manech. Jodie Foster appears in a supporting role as a Polish expatriate living in France.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet teams up again with his Amelie star, the winsome Audrey Tautou, for this unusual and engrossing film, which is part detective story, part romance, and part wartime drama. Tautou portrays Mathilde, a young orphan determined to discover whether her lover and childhood sweetheart, 19-year-old infantryman Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), actually died after being sentenced to death during World War I. Securing the services of a quirky Parisian investigator (Ticky Holgado) and forcing a lawyer friend of her late father's to help, the girl pursues every clue and learns that Manech’s fate may have been linked to something more than the crime with which he was charged. Mathilde’s search for the truth throws light on the darker military and political practices of those years, but Jeunet isn’t content to make Engagement a “message” film. He places great emphasis on sequences of revenge in which the officers responsible for Manech’s condemnation are dispatched one by one. The story is a thriller, yet Jeunet mutates the form by employing horrifying and viscerally affecting war scenes, showing trenches under bombardment and soldiers being mowed down by machine-gun fire. Obvious care was taken with this production, and that care is primarily manifested in carefully designed visuals that reflect differences in time and place. Brittany and the French countryside radiate an idyllic golden glow, while primary colors are absent from the trenches and battlefields. Paris is rendered as picturesquely as in vintage postcards. But the best visual effect is Tautou, whose marvelously expressive face always lets us know exactly what she is thinking and feeling. Complicated scripting and meticulous direction aside, this lovely and able actress makes this Engagement very special.
All Movie Guide
Jean-Pierre Jeunet's most sophisticated achievement to date, if not actually his best film, A Very Long Engagement marks the first instance of the director's trademark techniques applied to a story of historical consequence. In addition to possessing Jeunet's usual busy narration and array of interconnected characters, it's also a visual tour de force, having earned Oscar nominations for both its art direction and cinematography. Jeunet brings equal loving attention to the grimy battlefields as to the pretty French countryside and fantastic cityscapes that have always fascinated him. But it's the film's opening minutes that really announce Jeunet's somber departure from Amélie, back toward his dystopian earlier work. He begins with a medley of five integral characters and the disparate ways they mutilate themselves to escape combat, in the darkest corners of the foxholes they imagine will be their tombs. It's a real attention-grabber, and it sets in motion a complex plot with numerous subordinate characters, featured in their own offshoot episodes from the main story. Perhaps not even its French-speaking audiences can fully follow A Very Long Engagement, with so many characters whose tenuous ties to each other must be constantly remembered, sans help from Jeunet. The task is further complicated for those who need to read subtitles in addition to gazing in rapture at the production design. Still, an ability to recount every plot detail is not essential to the enjoyment of A Very Long Engagement, which has so many optic pleasures that the need for clarity or continuity becomes de-emphasized. It's well worth that second viewing to appreciate all the subtleties. Notable among the performances are Audrey Tautou playing, well, Audrey Tautou, and Jodie Foster moonlighting in a French film with a finesse that's surprising, even if her unconventional choice of roles is not.
Time Magazine - Richard Corliss
Can a movie have too much good stuff? Not when it's stuffed like this one.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

Jeunet brings everything together -- his joyously poetic style, the lovable Tautou, a good story worth the telling -- into a film that is a series of pleasures stumbling over one another in their haste to delight us.
Chicago Tribune - Michael Wilmington
It's a magical film which manages to transport and rivet us in the same highly-imaginitive, breezily playful way "Amelie" did.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet; Languages: Français; Subtitles: English, Français & Español; The Making of "A Very Long Engagement"; Paris in the 20's Before the Explosion; Deleted scenes with Jean-Pierre Jeunet audio commentary

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Audrey Tautou Mathilde
Gaspard Ulliel Manech
Jean-Pierre Becker Esperanza
Dominique Bettenfeld Ange Bassignano
Clovis Cornillac Benoit Notre Dame
Marion Cotillard Tina Lombardi
Jean-Pierre Darroussin Benjamin Gordes
Jodie Foster Elodie Gordes
Jean-Claude Dreyfus Commandant Lavrouye
Albert Dupontel Celestin Poux
André Dussollier Rouviéres
Ticky Holgado Germain Pire
Tchéky Karyo Captain Favourier
Jérôme Kircher Bastoche
Denis Lavant Six-Sous
Francois Levantal Thouvenel
Chantal Neuwirth Benedicte
Dominique Pinon Sylvain
Jean-Paul Rouve The Postman
Julie Depardieu Véronique Passavant
Michel Vuillermoz L'il Louis
Bouli Lanners Actor
Rufus A Breton
Michel Chalmeau The Priest of Milly
Maud Rayer Actor
Philippe Duquesne Actor
Florence Thomassin Narrator
Rodolphe Pauly Jean Desrochelles
Xavier Maly Chardolot's Friend
Myriam Roustan The Cafe Prostitute
Thierry Gibault Lieutenant Estrangin
Sandrine Rigaud Mariette Notre Dame
Marc Faure The Prison Director
Gilles Masson The Murdered Officer
Till Bahlmann German Prisoner
Tony Gaultier Gravedigger
Louis-Marie Audubert Gravedigger
Jean Gilles Barbier Sergeant
Marc Robert Soldier
Pierre Heitz Soldier
Philippe Maymat Soldier
Eric Debrosse Soldier
Michel Gondouin Soldier
Eric Fraticelli Menacing Corsican
Philippe Beautier Joker On The Train
Gérald Weingand Conned Solider
Luc Songzoni Conned Soldier
Xavier Berlioz Orderly
Frankye Pain Madam
Marcel Philippot Bourgeois Couple
Pascale Lievyn Bourgeois Couple
Jean-Claude Lecoq German Machine Gunner
Esther Sironneau Nurse
Stephanie Gesnel Prostitute
Frederique Bel Prostitute
Alexandre Caumartin Stretcher Bearer
Eric Defosse Stretcher Bearer
Gaspar Claus Stabbed German
Jean Philippe Beche Geroges Cornu
Anaïs Durand Hélène Prie

Technical Credits
Jean-Pierre Jeunet Director,Screenwriter
Vincent Arnardi Sound Mixer
Angelo Badalamenti Score Composer
Pierre-Jacques Benichou Casting
Francis Boespflug Producer
Aline Bonetto Production Designer
Bruno Delbonnel Cinematographer
Arnaud Esterez Asst. Director
Madeline Fontaine Costumes/Costume Designer
Gerard Hardy Sound Editor
Laurent Kossayan Sound/Sound Designer
Guillaume Laurant Screenwriter
Thierry Mauvoisin Asst. Director
Jean-Lou Monthieux Executive Producer
Pascal Roy Asst. Director
Herve Schneid Editor
Nathalie Tissier Makeup

Scene Index

Side #1 -- A Very Long Engagement
1. Opening Credits [1:34]
2. ...Five Men on Death Row [2:41]
3. Six-Sous [1:26]
4. Benoît Notre-Dame [1:32]
5. Ange Bassignano [2:02]
6. Cornflower [3:53]
7. Bingo Crépuscule [3:06]
8. The Mess Hall Marauder [1:49]
9. No-Man's-Land [2:01]
10. Let's Hear It Then [2:35]
11. If Chickpea Comes In... [2:49]
12. The White Widow [2:13]
13. In This Whole Story... [1:26]
14. Germain Pire, the Peerless Pry [4:05]
15. The Chick Has Flown the Coop [4:08]
16. A Good Glass of Wine... [2:54]
17. Secret Defense [4:39]
18. Reward for Information... [1:00]
19. An Albatross Is Stubborn [1:30]
20. A Letter From... [1:38]
21. A Flood of Letters [4:45]
22. I Want to Understand!!! [2:52]
23. The Borrowed Woman [:33]
24. Can One See Far From... [8:42]
25. The Departure for the War [4:38]
26. The Military Cemetery Of... [2:13]
27. Let's Meet Under... [1:40]
28. The Roaming Poux [1:14]
29. For France... Charge!!! [8:51]
30. The Soldier With German Boots [2:34]
31. On the Trail of Sorrow [3:13]
32. God Spared French Soldier... [1:59]
33. Try to Be Happy and Don't... [3:04]
34. He Who Pries Flies... [4:32]
35. The End of the World Farm [4:44]
36. The Hospital of Combles [8:40]
37. Stay Where You Are, Mathilde... [4:06]
38. The Milly Expedition [4:22]
39. Final Credits [4:24]
Side #2 -- Supplemental Material
1. Opening Credits [1:01]
2. Preparation/Preproduction [7:19]
3. First Rehearsals [2:32]
4. Shooting in Corsica [3:02]
5. Mechanical Special Effects [1:39]
6. Rehearsals Continue [2:52]
7. Working With Children [5:43]
8. In the Trenches [3:54]
9. Day of General Mobilization [4:19]
10. The Corpses [1:56]
11. Welcome to Brittany [4:53]
12. Mathilde [4:02]
13. Place de l'Opera [3:57]
14. The Arrival of Roaming Poux [2:52]
15. Trench Scene [2:26]
16. A Bus for the Editing [1:17]
17. The Albatross [1:09]
18. Les Halles [2:57]
19. The Arrest of Benoît Notre-Dame [3:11]
20. The Explosions [6:10]
21. The Milly Expedition [4:51]
22. Final Credits [1:41]


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A Very Long Engagement 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Sgt_RockCB More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story of love. Set in WWI France. Looking forward to watching it again someday.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a war movie, mystery, and love story all in one. Visually, it's such a beautiful film. The director took great pains with historical accuracy and it really shows. I loved, loved, loved this movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like audrey tautou and like the movie amelie. it is a very good movie. some of the actors are the same as in amelie and it is made the same way. also it is a mix of a love story and a war story in one. there are some good world war I scenes. audrey tautou looks very lovely also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and his "Amelie" star Audrey Tautou reunite in this WWI love story. The film was shot with lots of browns to give it the look of an old photograph. The story is sad, yet humorous. A must see.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this movie thinking it would be a beautiful love story. I watched it and I was disappointed. For one thing it is all in french with subtitles. It was some what hard to understand in some areas. I was very suprized that Jodi Foster was in it. And I am a fan of hers. I wish It had been in english maybe i would have enjoyied it more. I can't even recommend this movie to my best friend because it is in french with subtitles. Subtitles go to fast for her and and she is vision impaired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was absolutely beautiful. It was artistically done, full of symbolism and color. Though the movie had much to do with war, the quest of the girl was humerous and you quickly began to care for her as a character. It has just the right amount of humor to keep the movie from taking itself too seriously. As to the French subtitles, it IS a French movie. I happen to love the original voices of each of the actors and actresses, and it keeps the feel of the movie. If it was converted to English it wouldn't be as believable. I greatly urge everyone to see this movie, it is every bit as good as Amelie, but has more emotional depth and feeling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this movie was fantastic. It differs from the book, but is one of the best book to movie titles I have seen. It is more than a war story, or a love story, requiring viewers to follow the story closely because it is a movie of intricate details. The movie is beautifully acted and directed. I would highly recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! If you are a fan of "Amelie," then this is for you! I don't know if any of you noticed that some of the actors from "Amelie" are in this movie too. At first, I didn't recognize them but in a meanwhile, they started to look familiar to me before I realized that they were from "Amelie!" I was surprised to see Jodie Foster – I was like “is that Jodie Foster?” Anyway, about the movie, it’s a heartfelt story about a girl searching for her long-lost fiancée. In a way she inspired all of us that she didn’t give up looking for him even though everyone doubted her. Wow…what a story! I cried when she found him at the end of the movie!
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