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  1. Aug 29, 2014
    This is definitely not the film I was expecting based on its Oscar nominated pedigree. To say that I was disappointed is to put it mildly. The story concerns twin brothers who are sent to live with their un-loving grandmother at the time of World War 2 and are requested by their father to keep a notebook of their experiences. The scenes involving the grandmother are indeed the best in the film. However, the boys evolution from weak to strong, in both body and spirit, is at times too simplistically presented and at others un-necessarily over stated. Their blank stares into the camera when occupying the same cinematic frame often makes them come over as twins of evil from a hammer horror film. To this end the limited music score ominously conspires, its notes of doom seemingly belonging to another film entirely. The actress who plays the grandmother is very good, but the scenes involving cruelty to animals (often a requisite in Foreign Language films for some reason) are as distasteful as they are unwanted. Expand

Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Sep 5, 2014
    It's a nightmare fairy tale that can be very difficult to watch.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 29, 2014
    In the name of unblinking realism, Szász overdoes the allegory. There are no sacrificial gestures here, no heroism, no tears. He comes on as truth-teller, but he’s only telling half the truth.
  3. Reviewed by: Godfrey Cheshire
    Aug 29, 2014
    A well-crafted but otherwise undistinguished and tedious entry in a long line of European films that make a grotesque show of war’s horrors, often viewed through the lens of childhood’s disabused innocence.