User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 65 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 65
  2. Negative: 3 out of 65
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  1. Jun 30, 2013
    8
    "Un long dimanche de fiançailles" has charm, gentleness and delicacy. Audrey Tautou has a epic role as Mathile, a young girl who knows her fiancé is alive. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's last good film. Totally recommended!
  2. liz
    Jan 1, 2005
    7
    Jodie Foster plays a pivotal role in this movie. It's really great to see her back in action. Her French is flawless.
  3. ChrisM.
    Jun 1, 2005
    9
    Jeunet captures the horrors of war with a rare talent. He is one of the few who dare telling a story.
  4. elliotw
    Jan 6, 2005
    9
    This movie creates a wonderful contrast between war and humanity. The intense, grotesque war scenes are offset by a sugary sweet story with equally syrupy characters. Those that can't stomach either extreme will find fault with one or the other. Those open to the extreme contrast will be treated with some true eye candy and a wonderful story.
  5. SteveC
    Jan 7, 2005
    10
    As a former US Marine Corps combat photographer who spent 28 months in Vietnam during the height of the conflict, I was mesmerized by how brilliantly this film captured the universal realities of war : bravery, brutality, injustice, misery, despair, inhuman living conditions and above all, ugliness. Although set during WW I, the film puts the viewer in touch with the primal truths of As a former US Marine Corps combat photographer who spent 28 months in Vietnam during the height of the conflict, I was mesmerized by how brilliantly this film captured the universal realities of war : bravery, brutality, injustice, misery, despair, inhuman living conditions and above all, ugliness. Although set during WW I, the film puts the viewer in touch with the primal truths of combat that were just as valid then as they are today in Iraq. There is an authenticity to the actors in this film that is completely lacking in most of Hollywood's silly attempts to portray soldiers in combat. Think "Saving Private Ryan.". But this is not just a war film. Anything but. It's an equally powerful love story -- and, to me, that's the real beauty of the film. Love and war may seem like polar extremes but trust me, in a combat zone when you've spent days soaked in mud punctuated with constant incoming mortars and rockets and you loaded a good buddy into a body bag the day before, often the only thing that keeps you going is thoughts of returning to that special love interest who by then has assumed super human dimensions (hence the reason for the high divorce rate for returning vets -- but that's a subject for another time). It's a sad commentary on contemporary values when so many of the highly esteemed critics and movie-going public heap praises on mediocrity like "Sideways" (the cinemaphotography is first year film school boring, the script is on a level with Bevis and Butthead and the casting is nothing short of embarrassing) when a brilliant film maker like Jeunet fails to get the credit he deserves. Any serious movie buff who cares about brilliant cinemaphotography, superb directing, inspired casting -- in short, film making as a true art form -- should not miss "A Very Long Engagement." Expand
  6. GregS.
    Feb 6, 2005
    10
    One of the Year's best films. Haunting, memorable and visually incredible. No wonder France did not want to re-fight any war.
  7. BertiP.
    Oct 30, 2006
    10
    A compelling film, wonderfully created, showing French cinema at its very best. It seems that some of the "American rewiews" have not understood this productions depth and style.
  8. AdolpheH.
    Nov 22, 2004
    10
    Awesome movie, need to be seen twice to be fully appreciated
  9. [Anonymous]
    Jan 1, 2005
    10
    Best movie I have seen this year. Compelling to watch. Wonderful cinematography.
  10. MarkC.
    Jan 13, 2005
    10
    The same people who complain about the violence in this fil were probably seen at screenings of "Independance Day". Come on!!! Don't let that be a point against the film... it is about a war. This film is fabulously filmed, amazingly crafted, touching, brutal, truthful, autonomous, endearing. I loved it.
  11. MarkB.
    Jan 19, 2005
    7
    If the grandmothers, teenage girls and hopeless romantics who made Amelie a worlwide smash can make it through the first 10 minutes or so of its director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and star Audrey Tautou's latest collaboration--a stylized but unsparing mosaic of the horrors of World War I that features (but is not limited to) characters who evade military service by shooting their fingers If the grandmothers, teenage girls and hopeless romantics who made Amelie a worlwide smash can make it through the first 10 minutes or so of its director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and star Audrey Tautou's latest collaboration--a stylized but unsparing mosaic of the horrors of World War I that features (but is not limited to) characters who evade military service by shooting their fingers off and some graphic war footage that provides the literal translation of the phrase "spilling your guts", they'll find the same blend of wistfulness and charm (due in large part to the film's indispensable star) that so endeared them to the duo's previous work. Leaving aside for a moment the obvious shifts in time and place, the two movies share far more similarities than differences (sorry, Marc K). Jeunet makes extremely (some would say insanely) Rube Goldbergian mechanical toys loaded with flashback sequences, (apparent) extraneous characters and comic bits, and (seemingly) irrelevant digressions and curlicues. (If Jeunet's chosen medium were the novel rather than film, his favorite punctuation marks would be the parentheses and the asterisk.) As Pauline Kael once said about Frank Capra, nobody makes films quite like this director, but if anyone tries, shoot him. (Last summer's rancid, mean-spirited Amelie wannabe, Love Me If You Dare, is ample evidence of this.) Either Jeunet is your cup of demitasse or he isn't (he isn't really mine), but love him or no, there's no arguing that his films wouldn't have a fraction of their effectiveness without Tautou. The big, red, throbbing heart that really makes Jeunet's sometimes problematic perpetual motion machines run, she is an exquisitely vulnerable gamin who manages to be intensely lovable onscreen even when she's not supposed to be (say, in L'Auberge Espagnole, where she plays an unsympathetic Disposable Girlfriend, or He Loves Me, He Loves me Not, where her character is completely psychotic); she reduces a great many moviegoers (count me in) to a fudgsicle left on a hot Phoenix sidewalk. (Giving her a limp, as Jeunet does here, has the effect of transferring the fudgsicle to a microwave oven and turning it to high.) Jeunet's trademark preciousness is leavened by some powerful sequences involving war widows and sweethearts (Jodie Foster in particular) and a truly lovely, understated wrapup in which Tautou's very long search for a childhood best friend and adult lover that she doesn't believe was killed in the war reaches its end. My greatest admiration goes to Warner Bros. for NOT backing off releasing this (as Miramax cravenly did with Buffalo Soldiers) because of its antiwar stance--any film that's in total sympathy with those who avoid battle by any means necessary, and stops just a rifle hair short of openly endorsing the assassination of officers is clearly NOT going to be a White House favorite! I suspect that Jeunet deliberately made a film that, in the tradition of Vietnam-era movies like the original M*A*S*H, The Sand Pebbles and several revisionist Westerns such as Little Big Man (to name just a few), Jeunet is making his statements under cover of "this film is set during different times, but you and I know which war I'm REALLY talking about". If that's the case, then I sort of regret a real missed opportunity in the timing of its release; instead of coming out around Christmas of 2004, I would have loved to have seen it hit theaters about 18 months beforehand...just to hear one or more Bush administration apologists dismiss it with the inevitable putdown, "Well,what do you expect from THEM? After all, they're FRENCH!" Expand
  12. davidlev.
    Feb 19, 2005
    10
    A masterpiece, pure and simple, from the broadest strokes to the smallest detail. absolutely one of the five best films of the year.
  13. DuncanA.
    Feb 2, 2005
    9
    A stunning film, well worth seeing twice, to let the rich dialogue and images sink in.
  14. MalcolmD.
    Mar 12, 2005
    10
    So many cinematically poetic recurring bits of humanity counterbalanced the many scenes of carnage. This movie is a masterpiece of film making! I look forward to many more viewings, in which I will no doubt discover more nuances in the multi faceted narrative.
  15. JerryH.
    Nov 24, 2004
    7
    Jeunet is as inventive as ever with this stunningly beautiful film, but the overstuffed plot slows to a snail's pace that even he can't completely overcome. I still recommend the film highly for its wonderful style, cinematography, acting, and music. Enjoy with a loved one.
  16. thomm
    Dec 31, 2004
    10
    GREAT Movie!!!
  17. TomM.
    Dec 30, 2004
    7
    Compelling mix of whimsy, romance, gore and mystery. Too long.
  18. matheuse.
    Dec 31, 2004
    10
    Simply the best film of 2004 and one of the msot perfect films I have ever seen.
  19. JimD.
    Apr 17, 2005
    9
    Audrey Tautou displays the same strange allure as she does in Amelie. This film has real charm, mixed with shocking WW1 violence. My only problem was following the twisting logic of the plot. Maybe you can figure it out! It all ends a bit syrupy, but it's a fine Gallic vintage.
  20. CraiganU
    Jul 28, 2005
    8
    A curious collision of Amelie and Saving Private Ryan, A Very Long Engagement is beautiful and jarring.
  21. HalT.
    Dec 23, 2004
    9
    Sweet, wonderous movie that takes its time in pulling together a story filled with romance, mystery, and war. The acting is seamless, and the movie looks great. And, mais oui, it feels so French!
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Bernard Besserglik
    80
    Jeunet provides numerous pleasures, particularly visual, along the way.
  2. 88
    An emotional powerhouse.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    90
    Can a movie have too much good stuff? Not when it's stuffed like this one.