Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: April 22, 2011
8.3
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 113 Ratings
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Positive:
102
Mixed:
10
Negative:
1
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9
MarcDoyleApr 28, 2011
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 forA 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
3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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10
MorriBeyApr 27, 2011
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.
3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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10
cabritaOct 15, 2011
Greatly made building up suspense until it dazzle's you with it's shocking finish. One of the best movies of last year!
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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5
GOUGHMay 5, 2011
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. TheIt 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
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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9
nutterjrJul 5, 2011
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.
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8
JamesLMay 30, 2011
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 haveThis 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
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9
philoMay 10, 2011
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.
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7
CitizenCharlieAug 29, 2011
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
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6
netflicMay 16, 2011
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
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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5
PD4May 19, 2011
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
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9
MellyJun 9, 2011
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 thisA 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. Expand
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10
byronJul 21, 2011
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 IThis 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
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9
malonedAug 11, 2011
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.
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8
koundinyaJul 16, 2012
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.
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9
SpangleOct 14, 2016
Wow is Incendies messed up. Telling the story of Jeanne (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) and Simon Marwan (Maxim Gaudette) on their journey to find their father and brother in the aftermath of the death of their mother, Nawal Marwan (LubnaWow is Incendies messed up. Telling the story of Jeanne (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) and Simon Marwan (Maxim Gaudette) on their journey to find their father and brother in the aftermath of the death of their mother, Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal). A thoroughly heartwrenching journey through a religiously and war torn Middle Eastern nation that is part self-discovery and part war story, Incendies feels influenced by classic Greek and Shakespearean tragedies (namely one that I will mention later on since it is a major spoiler) and also feels incredibly important for today. Yet, Incendies' greatest power is its emotional impact and the way in which it leaves you absolutely stunned at what you just witnessed.

An incredibly crafted mystery film from director Denis Villeneuve, the ending of Incendies is not one you see coming. In fact, when the reveal occurs, you are left stunned as it is most certainly not what was anticipated. Rather, through shocking twists and turns throughout its story, Incendies is a haunting story of civil war in an unnamed Middle Eastern nation. Telling the story of Christian nationalists who reject refugees against Muslims who accept the refugees, the film breaks your heart from the very first shot of Nawal's involvement in this classic tale. Given the political goings on in the United States today, it is not hard to draw comparisons between Incendies and current events. The fact that Nawal is a Christian who loves a refugee makes this film almost have a Romeo & Juliet feel to it in the very beginning, except this time Romeo actually dies and Juliet brings shame on her entire family, almost being killed as a result. The rest, when told from the perspective of Nawal, details her journey to find the son she and her now deceased lover had together. This journey brings her face-to-face with the Christian nationalists before she winds up in political prison. Nawal's journey is particularly harrowing and incredibly well told. As a character, her motivation is clear: to find her son. The path she takes is solely towards that goal, in spite of her being caught up in the civil war.

Yet, the greatest influence on the story of Incendies has to be Oedipus. Mirroring the tale as Nawal is forced to give up her son, Nihad (Abdelghafour Elaaziz), for adoption, only to wind up being raped and impregnated by him in prison (unbeknownst to both of them at the time), Incendies gives the viewer the same sickening feeling as Oedipus does. Yet, it takes Oedipus one step further by having their children find out the truth as well. The reactions of the characters is just painful and thoroughly messed up to watch unfold. Though it lacks the free-will and Oracle elements of Oedipus, it does feel as thought the film's story does bear marks of influence.

In terms of Incendies itself, it is incredibly well shot to go along with its tremendous emotional power. There is one shot in particular of Nawal crying beside a burning bus she was once on. After Christian nationalists slaughtered everyone on the bus for being Muslims, but sparing Nawal as she is a Christian, the bus burns in the background. The spiraling black smoke and orange flames are gorgeously captured alongside Nawal's pain-filled cries.

Before the ending is revealed, the mystery is thoroughly well-developed. Always leaving you on edge as Jeanne and Simon discover more-and-more about their mother's previously unknown past, the film really spins a terrific yarn and brings you throughout the region. In the process, it not only explores this deeply destroyed family, but also explores this deeply destroyed region. With many Middle Eastern countries going through this process, the emotional impact of seeing this nation blown to bits is incredible. Upon revealing the mystery, the final letters left by Nawal for Jeanne and Simon, as well as the two for Nihad are absolutely heartwrenching. Filled with emotion, forgiveness, and power, the film reveals its true heart here as it is not just a story about a mother searching for her son, but also a story of forgiving that son for all the pain and suffering he had caused her. Truly powerful in this regard, Incendies leaves an indelible mark on all who view it for this very reason.

The only foreign-language film from Villeneuve that I have seen, Incendies reveals that I have far more to watch. Having seen all of his English-language works and eagerly anticipating Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve has to be one of the best filmmakers working currently.
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8
SmilewithmeMar 16, 2013
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
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7
SamSkJul 1, 2013
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 actressesIncendies 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! Expand
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10
theseparatorSep 22, 2013
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 CanadienBecause 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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9
ECantonaDec 23, 2013
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 toA 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. Expand
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9
TrailesqueJul 12, 2017
This is a superbly filmed and paced drama/thriller. A Quebec family with Middle Eastern roots is forced to confront its painful past following the death of a woman. She leaves behind a couple of letters for her 2 kids with instructions toThis is a superbly filmed and paced drama/thriller. A Quebec family with Middle Eastern roots is forced to confront its painful past following the death of a woman. She leaves behind a couple of letters for her 2 kids with instructions to deliver them to their father and their brother, whom they had thought to be either deceased or non-existent. The daughter takes charge and begins a solo investigation back in the old country. Much of the action takes place in this fictional Arab nation (which has a lot in common with Lebanon), a violent place where war breaks out between Christian and Muslim militias. The ending is shocking to say the least, and I had to look it up to make sure I had not misunderstood it. I wonder if there are any Middle Eastern films that take place in fictional Western countries - that would be interesting to see if it exists anywhere. Expand
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5
Roger_WilcoFeb 17, 2017
An okay movie, but extremely overrated by critics.
The story is basically a two-hour intellectual torture porn, piling tragedy upon tragedy so inflationarily that after one hour, I lost all emotional connection to the protagonist. Talking
An okay movie, but extremely overrated by critics.
The story is basically a two-hour intellectual torture porn, piling tragedy upon tragedy so inflationarily that after one hour, I lost all emotional connection to the protagonist. Talking about protagonists, the three main characters lack depth and development and feel like they are just there to enable the (admittedly rather skillful) telling of the plot. As has been criticised by a lot of other reviewers, the plot twists become more and more contrived to the point of absurdity - which is not a big problem if you accept the movie as an illustration about the effect that war has on the fate of the individual. What's a lot more unfortunate is that exactly this illustration is ill-executed because we get so little insight into the world of the characters. The movie doesn't make a firm commitment to telling either the story of a society torn by war or that of individuals broken by war and, as a result, fails at convincingly telling either of the two.

I guess the good reviews are a result of the many - and not very elaborate - references the story makes to topics which are usually well-received by critics, regardless of the quality in which they are presented: cultural oppression of women, sexual violence, child soldiers, perversion of religion for the purpose of war, etc.

On a more positive note, it has some very well-crafted and intense scenes and well-picked scenery.

In the end, neither Incendies' plot nor its message warrant sitting through two hours of headshots, bombs, rape, child murder, torture and screaming women, so I wouldn't recommend it.
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