Movie Review

Don’t go to “A Very Long Engagement,” which stars Audrey Tatou, with the idea of being treated to a second “Amelie,” even though the director, star, and several cast members are the same as in that delightful little comic love story. Go because you want to see an epic antiwar film. Go for the love story. Go for the detective story. Go for beautiful music and breathtaking cinematography. Go for amazing special effects. Go to study the costumes, the houses, the trains, and other artifacts. Go for a marvelous interpretation of a historical period. Go for a look at a possible Best Picture Oscar nominee.

Mathilde and Manech are friends since childhood and lovers before he is drafted into the horrors of trench warfare in World War I. His disappearance and the disappearance of several others make up the main story line. There are a great many subplots and lesser characters that all fit into the revelations of the whole. Even the mundane events such as the delivery of daily mail become wonderful stories in the moviemakers’ artful hands. People will find sorrow, desperation, hope, and laughter during “A Very Long Engagement.”

— Jim Lane