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69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: In a working class Paris neighborhood in the early 60's, two unlikely characters -- a young Jew and an elderly Muslim -- begin a friendship. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Surely there is room in the movies for a small film with an unabashed, even old-fashioned but timeless humanist spirit -- and a triumphant portrayal by a veteran star that is likely to be regarded as one of the year's best.
  2. A gracefully subtle, sweet-spirited French parable of the brotherhood of man that was nominated for a Golden Globe, won Omar Sharif a César Award for best actor and has been a surprise hit in Europe.
  3. The movie is sometimes profound in its simple, optimistic message of friendship -- and sometimes it's plain simple.
  4. 70
    Adapting a novel by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, François Dupeyron uses handheld cameras and some jarring edits, but, prostitutes and all, this is storybook material: heartfelt, pleasant, cuddly, and a little too insubstantial to stick in the mind for long.
  5. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    70
    Both an appealing coming-of-age yarn and, as Monsieur Ibrahim embraces his own mortality, a heartfelt coming-of-aging saga.
  6. 63
    Agreeable enough motion picture, but not one that leaves any sort of lasting impression.
  7. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    40
    Maybe someday an enterprising filmmaker will make a film about this forgotten chapter in Muslim-Jewish relations. It would be a lot more compelling and memorable than the nonsense in Monsieur Ibrahim.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Cyril
    Mar 29, 2004
    10
    I have been asking myself recently: In this Hollywood/Bollywood movie world filled with shallow stereotypes and money making divas, is it I have been asking myself recently: In this Hollywood/Bollywood movie world filled with shallow stereotypes and money making divas, is it possible to make a truly spiritual movie that will introduce some very quiet and smiling vibration into the heart, a movie that will be a success both spiritually and commercially? François Dupeyron succeeds admirably in this task. Like any major work of art the movie is multi-faceted and can be interpreted on many levels: material as a coming-of-age story of waking sexuality and finding your place in the world, emotional as a tragedy of a family and a vivid description of psychological troubles we deal with in life or, finally, spirutual, with life being a mystic experience and the "adventure of consciousness and joy" as Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo put it. The subtlety of the movie is that it is all based on nuances - we don't see openly raging emotions and all the psychological "play" is presented by some almost imperceptible but very powerful symbols of what is happening in the consciousness of the character -like the hat- the symbol of his old life - that Momo is helplessly kneading in his hands after he received bad news. The movie is about what we are all trying to do in life, sometimes without even realizing it: psychological liberation. The process of it does not end with teenage years even though some people lose the ability or desire to analyze and work on their conditioning. Monsieur Ibrahim as he says himself "knows his Koran", he shows the boy inner truth and inner path of freedom from our own inhibitions, mastery over one's nature and also shows by his very daily acts that in the world and life there are no sacred figures to be adored blindly or just because everyone does it, that the true religion lies where all religions in the world converge into some shining truth and all difference between Islam, Christianity or Hinduism disappers and the world becomes one, an "inner religion". One can call this approach Sufi, but it is only one of the names. Too bad in the United States the second part of the movie title (the Flowers of Koran) was missed out, but ...well...no comment... Excellent acting and casting. Mr. Sharif is superb in every respect. Mr. Boulanger deserves a special mention: very self confident at the same time not showy without teenage lust for fame and stardom one can expect at that age. The movie can be called one of the "inner" movies that shows more the inner life than outer and through the eyes of the characters - during the journey to Turkey we see the country through the eyes of someone who lived there and there is a very comfortable feeling that we - just like Momo himself - found ourselves in the country we never were before but that still is very comfortable and looks and sounds strangely familiar. One of the most amazing episodes if the "whirling dervishes" scene but one has to see it and hear the voice over. The very end of the movie showing the "circle of life" seems to be a bit too rationalistic and more like a mechanical repetition, instead of living and developing process of life and spiritual thruth. Some things are better left untold or shown indirectly. Besides, Momo because of his age and apparent lack of spiritual wisdom seems unnatural and "wearing someone else's clothes" in the final scene. Overall, the movie is the kind that is able to tell a lot, only if you can see and listen. It is very real and sincere both in terms of emotional, psychological problems people deal with in life and their solutions. At the same time the movie avoids religious moralizing and has great, very subtle sense of humor. Unfortunately I don't know enough about mystical side of Sufism to be able to enjoy and appreciate Sufi or Islam imagery even more. Expand
  2. Cyril
    Mar 29, 2004
    10
    I have been asking myself recently: In this Hollywood/Bollywood movie world filled with shallow stereotypes and money making divas, is it I have been asking myself recently: In this Hollywood/Bollywood movie world filled with shallow stereotypes and money making divas, is it possible to make a truly spiritual movie that will introduce some very quiet and smiling vibration into the heart, a movie that will be a success both spiritually and commercially? François Dupeyron succeeds admirably in this task. Like any major work of art the movie is multi-faceted and can be interpreted on many levels: material as a coming-of-age story of waking sexuality and finding your place in the world, emotional as a tragedy of a family and a vivid description of psychological troubles we deal with in life or, finally, spirutual, with life being a mystic experience and the "adventure of consciousness and joy" as Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo put it. The subtlety of the movie is that it is all based on nuances - we don't see openly raging emotions and all the psychological "play" is presented by some almost imperceptible but very powerful symbols of what is happening in the consciousness of the character -like the hat- the symbol of his old life - that Momo is helplessly kneading in his hands after he received bad news. The movie is about what we are all trying to do in life, sometimes without even realizing it: psychological liberation. The process of it does not end with teenage years even though some people lose the ability or desire to analyze and work on their conditioning. Monsieur Ibrahim as he says himself "knows his Koran", he shows the boy inner truth and inner path of freedom from our own inhibitions, mastery over one's nature and also shows by his very daily acts that in the world and life there are no sacred figures to be adored blindly or just because everyone does it, that the true religion lies where all religions in the world converge into some shining truth and all difference between Islam, Christianity or Hinduism disappers and the world becomes one, an "inner religion". One can call this approach Sufi, but it is only one of the names. Too bad in the United States the second part of the movie title (the Flowers of Koran) was missed out, but ...well...no comment... Excellent acting and casting. Mr. Sharif is superb in every respect. Mr. Boulanger deserves a special mention: very self confident at the same time not showy without teenage lust for fame and stardom one can expect at that age. The movie can be called one of the "inner" movies that shows more the inner life than outer and through the eyes of the characters - during the journey to Turkey we see the country through the eyes of someone who lived there and there is a very comfortable feeling that we - just like Momo himself - found ourselves in the country we never were before but that still is very comfortable and looks and sounds strangely familiar. One of the most amazing episodes if the "whirling dervishes" scene but one has to see it and hear the voice over. The very end of the movie showing the "circle of life" seems to be a bit too rationalistic and more like a mechanical repetition, instead of living and developing process of life and spiritual thruth. Some things are better left untold or shown indirectly. Besides, Momo because of his age and apparent lack of spiritual wisdom seems unnatural and "wearing someone else's clothes" in the final scene. Overall, the movie is the kind that is able to tell a lot, only if you can see and listen. It is very real and sincere both in terms of emotional, psychological problems people deal with in life and their solutions. At the same time the movie avoids religious moralizing and has great, very subtle sense of humor. Unfortunately I don't know enough about mystical side of Sufism to be able to enjoy and appreciate Sufi or Islam imagery even more. Expand
  3. Kat
    Oct 8, 2005
    10
    I wanted to use words like "graceful" and "wistful" and while they were true, they didn't seem to be strong enough for this powerful I wanted to use words like "graceful" and "wistful" and while they were true, they didn't seem to be strong enough for this powerful movie. The man and boy are brought to life by two amazing actors. It is a combination of a sort of coming-of-age movie, and a sort of understanding-religious-tolerance movie, and a bit of educational movie on the Mid-East, but you never feel you are being "informed." You are in it for the unraveling of a marvelous story, mainly about the growth of a friendship. This unlikely mutually beneficial friendship was one of those "coincidences" that changed lives for the better. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews

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