A Very Long Engagement

October 27th, 2004


more trailers A Very Long Engagement

Still of Audrey Tautou in A Very Long EngagementStill of Gaspard Ulliel in A Very Long EngagementStill of Gaspard Ulliel in A Very Long EngagementStill of Audrey Tautou in A Very Long EngagementStill of Audrey Tautou in A Very Long EngagementA Very Long Engagement

Tells the story of a young woman's relentless search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 7.8/10 (38,948 voted)

Critic's Score: 76/100

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Jodie Foster

Five desperate French soldiers during The Battle of the Somme shoot themselves, either by accident or with purpose, in order to be invalided back home. Having been "caught" a court-martial convenes and determines punishment to be banishment to No Man's Land with the objective of having the Germans finish them off. In the process of telling this tale each man's life is briefly explored along with their next of kin as Methilde, fiancée to one of the men, tries to determine the circumstances of her lover's death. This task is not made any easier for her due to a bout with polio as a child. Along the way she discovers the heights and depths of the human soul.

Writers: Sébastien Japrisot, Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Audrey Tautou - Mathilde
Gaspard Ulliel - Manech
Dominique Pinon - Sylvain
Chantal Neuwirth - Bénédicte
André Dussollier - Pierre-Marie Rouvières
Ticky Holgado - Germain Pire
Marion Cotillard - Tina Lombardi
Dominique Bettenfeld - Ange Bassignano
Jodie Foster - Elodie Gordes
Jean-Pierre Darroussin - Benjamin Gordes
Clovis Cornillac - Benoît Notre-Dame
Jean-Pierre Becker - Esperanza
Denis Lavant - Six-Soux
Jérôme Kircher - Bastoche
Albert Dupontel - Célestin Poux

Taglines: Never let go


Official Website: Official site [Denmark] | Warner Bros. [France] |

Release Date: 27 October 2004

Filming Locations: Austerlitz Railway Station, Paris 13, Paris, France

Box Office Details

Budget: $47,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $101,749 (USA) (28 November 2004) (4 Screens)

Gross: $70,115,868 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The mournful tune that Mathilde plays on the tuba is "Aase's Death" from the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs: Mathilde was born on January 1, 1900. At least twice in the course of the film we are told that Manech is only 1 year older than her. However, the voiceover at the beginning as Manech is being led through the trench with the other prisoners in January 1917 informs us that Manech is "five months shy of 20," putting his birth date in June of 1897 and making him two and a half years older than Mathilde. On the other hand, he could have lied on his real age in order to be conscripted - the voice-over citing actual records, Manech could have insisted to be sent, and had his age modified on records.

[repeated line]
Bénédicte: Farting hound, happy sound.

User Review

Simply great

Rating: 10/10

Well, I've never written an IMDb review before (though I read them all the time), but I feel compelled to write one now.. And don't worry, I won't give any spoilers or mention anything which will ruin the movie in any way. I hate when people do that.

This movie is PURE POETRY. I'm not going to claim I'm some great movie buff although I've seen a fair amount of movies, mostly independent and foreign, but "A Very Long Engagement" is one of the best I've ever seen. The whole film has a very dreamlike aura to it and the colors are great. The only other Jeunet film I've seen was Amelie, and while that movie is one of my favorites, this one is right up there with it.

The subject matter here isn't my forte by any means. Honestly, when I read the comparisons to "Saving Private Ryan", I winced a bit. SPR is a great movie, no doubt, but it's just not my cup of tea. What makes this such a strange paradox is that the war scenes in "A Very Long Engagement" are possibly even more graphic and outrageous than those of SPR, but it works just because Jeunet adds his surreal touch to everything. Of course, I would certainly call this a romance themed movie much more than a war themed movie, but it blends everything very smoothly and naturally. It is a film both men and women will enjoy equally. You really have to see this movie. I mean, I was simply floored. The two and a half hour playtime flew by, not a single dull moment in the entire film.

A few things: Someone mentioned earlier that this movie starts off by throwing out a lot of names and it can be very confusing if you, like me, aren't the best at remembering all these names (especially French names), but it seems the director figured that this confusion might occur so as the movie progresses it's almost impossible to not eventually remember who is who because we are reminded so often (especially with flashbacks) of who is who. It's really not a big problem at all, just try your best to remember the names and which faces they belong to.

Another thing, I found it sort of hard to really care much about the relationship between the two main characters at first simply because Audrey Tautou's character is all alone wondering about her fiancé, but as the movie goes to periodic flashbacks of the two in youth, then in their teenage years, I saw so much beauty in it all. And the way these scenes unfold are incredibly spellbinding... Easily putting anything from Amelie to shame. That's another point I wanted to make. Jeunet's style seems so much more natural and mature here as compared to the somewhat forced 'weirdness' (or quirkiness) of Amelie. This is such a masterful film. If I hadn't seen the last showing of the night I would have seen it again tonight.

The ending was mesmerizing, paralyzing, and when the credits came on not a single person even got up for a few minutes. I left the theater and walked around downtown just thinking about it all. I can't say enough great things about this film. I cannot wait for this to come out on DVD.

And in the event Mr. Jeunet sees this, thank you! Truly a film I'll think about for a long time to come, and one I'll be recommending to everyone.

If you're looking for a full length, meaty film to sink your teeth, heart and brain into for a night and walk out of the theater feeling completely full and satisfied, this is the film. I've read IMDb for years, but this movie was enough to make me register and post my first review. Think about it.