I spent a large part of the last few days watching movies I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. One of them was A Very Long Engagement, which I had missed when it was in theatres half a year ago. The film is the most recent work of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet of Amélie fame and features Audrey Tautou (=Amélie) as female lead Mathilde who is embarking on a long journey to find her fiancé Manech who disappeared in the Great War.
As far as Tautou’s portrayal of a young woman holding on to her dreams, the long list of characters whose lives we get to peek into, the witty dialogues and the inventive twists and turns are concerned, the movie is just as charming as Amélie. However, A Very Long Engagement‘s scope is ultimately much larger, be it in the depressing and disturbing setting of the trenches and the bright, sun-flooded fields of rural France, or in its themes of how inhuman and absurd wars are, how even people who fight on the same side deceive and betray each other, but also how love drives people to do the most irrational, unreasonable things and how hope can motivate you to dedicate your whole life to one thing.
The cinematography, set designs and computer animations are absolutely fantastic. The score is wonderfully moving in a non-pompous way which suits the film perfectly. The narrative is always gripping and keeps a fine balance between its elements of realistic depiction of the war, suspense, light-hearted comedy and romance.
A highly impressive movie! I’m really glad I bought it and urge everyone to do the same :)