User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 67 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 67
  2. Negative: 2 out of 67

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  1. Dec 23, 2013
    9
    A very, very disturbing story which was told in so realistic way. This movie haunts me the next couple weeks, i guess. I enjoyed the way this was made; I was hooked from beginning to end. I loved the way the storytelling moved from past to present and so on. Great movie.
  2. Sep 22, 2013
    10
    Because it’s so good, after watching Canadien/French Film Incendies for the second time, I thought that it must be based on a novel of play. I needed to find out. I now know that it is based on a play by Wajdi Mouawad. Mouawad is a Canadien writer, and to my delight, Incendies is part of a series of four plays. This means I have three more Incendies-like plays still to read.

    I won’t go
    Because it’s so good, after watching Canadien/French Film Incendies for the second time, I thought that it must be based on a novel of play. I needed to find out. I now know that it is based on a play by Wajdi Mouawad. Mouawad is a Canadien writer, and to my delight, Incendies is part of a series of four plays. This means I have three more Incendies-like plays still to read.

    I won’t go through a run-down of the plot, talk in abstractions about arch, characters symbiosis or lack-there-of…. there are tons of proper film reviews out there already dealing with these topics. I thought I’d just talk about two things, the two things that I thought make this an outstanding film: Photography, and the remarkable unfolding of a dramatic story; better film critics than me, which is to say any real film critic, have said that this film pulls off tragedy better than the Greeks.
    The photography… was just as good the second time as it was the first time I saw it. The film opens in a village that could be mistaken for Greece of Israel. At thought maybe this was set and shot in Palestine, but I think most of the film as actually shot in Jordan. Theses shots are actually set to portray a fictional Lebanon, both past and modern day. The history intertwined with the movie seems to be loosely fictional; I can’t find any information on any of the places that appear in film. My Lebanese civil war history is a little rusty. Anyone else?

    There are two shots in particular that stand out. Both are shot at a distance to reveal the vastness of the landscape, unmistakably Mediterranean. Rocky, and the trees, not that I’m a tree expert, but they must be olive or fig trees, they are almost overused as prototypical symbols of the Med, but they work great.
    The first shot I like is actually two shots, meaning one type of shot that is used twice, almost identically. It’s of a bus traveling on a skinny, mountainside road. At first, the camera is in close then pans way out to show the whole panoramic view, massive landscape, and tiny bus, a common technique in World films that are shot in exotic landscapes. The other shot is similar. It is later in the film. One of the characters is driving to a modern day Deressa Refugee camp and there is a shot taken from the sky of the winding roads leading up the side of a mountain. This shot is amazing, and whatever effects of filters the photographer added to make it fit the film’s tone so well, I can’t think of a better word to use to describe them, and the shot as ‘cinematic.’ I know that’s a terrible term to use when describing Cinema, I really do, but a shot like this is so expressive and well-placed in the film, there is nothing going in the film here excepts visuals, the shot on it’s own stands out as an artistic, filmmaking achievement.
    The storyline…unfolds with the precision of a textbook tragedy. It sets up the conflict right off the top--- find missing brother and father. As the drama unfolds the story becomes more and more complex, adding twists and turns to the plot that we never even thought possible. In the end we are left with remains that challenge Oedipus the King in magnitude of ruination, yet still manage to exit the scene with a sparkle of hope. Forgiveness lets the audience breath a little easier as the film closes, a catharsis, but even then the story, the film, will haunt your subconscious for a good while after.
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  3. Jul 1, 2013
    7
    Incendies is a work of art that is at some points very disturbing and quite hard to watch. It is let down by a burlesque ending which is disappointing as the rest of the film is a triumph of modern cinema. I thought the actors and actresses played their roles very well. And there is one scene which I found very, very upsetting. Big thumbs up to this film!
  4. Mar 16, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Movie itself contains some really painful moments, but it's a beautiful story. I wasn't really convinced by Simon, I thought his character lacked some life. But both female roles were astonishing. I thought older brother's story was really painful and I felt compassion for his character. I would love to see more of him and his story in the movie. Overall I think it's a great movie. Expand
  5. Jul 16, 2012
    8
    Another year, another Oscar snub. The movie is too tragic to be true. The movie leaves you shell-shocked with umpteen twists and turns as the plot swerves from one direction to another disclosing unbelievable facts. A treat to lovers of mystery.
  6. Oct 15, 2011
    10
    Greatly made building up suspense until it dazzle's you with it's shocking finish. One of the best movies of last year!
  7. Aug 29, 2011
    7
    Lebanese-Canadian Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal) has passed away. She was at the swimming pool, started staring off into space, and then slowly faded away in the hospital. She has left behind her twins, Jeanne and Simon, who are in their early â
  8. Aug 11, 2011
    9
    As much as a love movies, it's still difficult for me to watch foreign films, because of the whole subtitle reading.. but this movie transcends language. I highly recommend it.
  9. Jul 21, 2011
    10
    This was the most powerful movie I have seen in current memory. The screenplay was incredibly dramatic and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire movie. The suspense was complete and when the truth was revealed I found that I had no idea expectation how it would end. In addition to a well written. the actors were superbly chosen and fitted for their roles. The cinematographyThis was the most powerful movie I have seen in current memory. The screenplay was incredibly dramatic and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire movie. The suspense was complete and when the truth was revealed I found that I had no idea expectation how it would end. In addition to a well written. the actors were superbly chosen and fitted for their roles. The cinematography was beyond description...in my opinion, this is academy award material Expand
  10. Jul 5, 2011
    9
    My favourite pick of the 2011 Oscar nominees for foreign film (along with Dogtooth). A haunting story, full of twists, notable for the remarkable performance of Azabal.
  11. Jun 9, 2011
    9
    A wonderful movie, it was a bit hard to follow at times going back and forth between the time periods but what a great story! It had more than one gut wrenching exposure, but the ending of it all was so unexpected! I highly recommend this movie, a great expose on human life.
  12. May 30, 2011
    8
    This was a very good movie that reflected the realities of Lebanon's civil war. Although brutal and tough to watch at times, I thought the film captured the essence of that period based on my knowledge of it. I do think the film could have had a prologue explaining the political situation in which we the viewer were about to be injected. One of the things I admire about foreign films isThis was a very good movie that reflected the realities of Lebanon's civil war. Although brutal and tough to watch at times, I thought the film captured the essence of that period based on my knowledge of it. I do think the film could have had a prologue explaining the political situation in which we the viewer were about to be injected. One of the things I admire about foreign films is they are less likely to glamorize or gloss over the brutality that exists. I went and looked up the history of the conflict and found it to be as complicated as this film portrayed. The scenes that really struck me were he cold blooded killing of the little child on the bus and the sniper killings in Beirut. History seems to be continuously repeating itself in the Middle East. Expand
  13. PD4
    May 19, 2011
    5
    I'll keep it simple. Incendies gets a score of 5:

    The storytelling is sparingly engrossing.
    The plot feels too contrived.
    It leaves you morally browbeaten.
    It contains multiple "r u serious?" moments
  14. May 16, 2011
    6
    At times, the movie is so good that it could have been a masterpiece (no wonder it was nominated for Oscar in International movies category). But it is not.

    The final twist of the story (which is tightly connected to the beginning) makes the whole of it somewhat of a farce. In my opinion, the topic of great magnitude, such as civilian population suffering in a war, should not be confined
    At times, the movie is so good that it could have been a masterpiece (no wonder it was nominated for Oscar in International movies category). But it is not.

    The final twist of the story (which is tightly connected to the beginning) makes the whole of it somewhat of a farce.

    In my opinion, the topic of great magnitude, such as civilian population suffering in a war, should not be confined into an obscure and improbable case.

    Still, I cannot overlook the number of impressive, magnificent scenes which make the movie definitely worth seeing.
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  15. May 10, 2011
    9
    superb movie. gripping, difficult material to watch. it stays with you for a long time afterwards. superb acting, interesting plot twists and very intriguing movement from present to past and back again. highly recommended.
  16. May 5, 2011
    5
    It seemed a tad busy, and the languages not being my own first, robbed me I'm sure from some being able to tell if it was genuine in some scenes with the acting...though Grandmother's did seem a little over the top, not buying it some. The story did move in time a lot. The two female lead's too much alike in look made it a good challenge to see where we were in the story. Fine. But a lotIt seemed a tad busy, and the languages not being my own first, robbed me I'm sure from some being able to tell if it was genuine in some scenes with the acting...though Grandmother's did seem a little over the top, not buying it some. The story did move in time a lot. The two female lead's too much alike in look made it a good challenge to see where we were in the story. Fine. But a lot of things we could guess what were what and yeah, intentional, what with the characters finding out later...but, so much repetition of some story lines, felt as if, you know, CUT CUT CUT already. We get it. Still, heavy impact at the latter bits. WOW. No spoilers here but, advice: GO TO A COMFORTABLE SEATING PLACE! Regal Cinema in Irvine's blows! Collapse
  17. Apr 28, 2011
    9
    A tremendous film. Even though there's a lot going on, and there's much to unpack, the way the story unfolds is so effortlessly handled, and it's quite a story - packs an enormous punch. Throughout, I kept having to resist my yearning for more historical & geographical context, but I'm guessing the writer/director wanted to keep the focus on Marwan and her personal struggles and torturedA tremendous film. Even though there's a lot going on, and there's much to unpack, the way the story unfolds is so effortlessly handled, and it's quite a story - packs an enormous punch. Throughout, I kept having to resist my yearning for more historical & geographical context, but I'm guessing the writer/director wanted to keep the focus on Marwan and her personal struggles and tortured history. Highly recommended. Expand
  18. Apr 27, 2011
    10
    A wonderful piece of motion art with a disturbing conclusion . Its a painting of a harrowing scene told in the most beautiful strokes. It stays with you long after.
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 15, 2011
    88
    A story of hope amid the ruins -- one that everybody can appreciate, no matter their politics.
  2. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jun 23, 2011
    75
    The story might have worked as well without that stick-in-the-craw coincidence, which was inserted to maximize the horrors of Nawal's past.
  3. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Jun 20, 2011
    80
    A thriller that twists and turns with an understated power that will have you gripping the arm of your seat. Terrific stuff.