A Very Long Engagement

Aisling Tempany 01/02/2004

Rating: 4/5

With the same director, Audrey Tautou, and several other actors from Amelie, you could be forgiven for thinking that this film is very similar. Jeunet directs it with the same slightly quirky, fantastical edge. However this is a much darker film, and incredibly sad too (I very rarely feel deeply sad watching a film!) The scenes in the first world war are the best in the film, showing the horrors of the front line, and the sadness and desperation among those in the trenches. There aree moments of comedy still, but this is simply to take a breath from the serious tone of the film.

Mathilde undergoes a journey very similar to the one that Tautou takes in Amelie, but here the film unearths the sadness of those left with the loss and destruction in the first world war. Her absolute refusal to accept the possibility to believe that her love Manech is dead is at times heartbreaking, as the plot unfolds to often doubt her belief. Jeunet thankfully manages to resolve the story in a way that is hopeful, but ultimately quite sad.