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Running Time:
2 hours, 24 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for violence and sexuality

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A visually beautiful film that starts slowly, but builds to a profound, emotional and satisfying conclusion, but it's at least twenty minutes too long.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Additional scenes; Director commentary; 4 documentaries on the film and it's historical era; Cast and crew interviews.

A Very Long Engagement
Audrey Tautou (Amelie) plays Mathilde, a young, polio-afflicted, tuba-playing country girl who was raised by her aunt and uncle after her parents were killed in an accident. It's 1920 and three years since her fiancée, Manech, went off to fight in the trenches of World War I. One day she receives a mysterious letter which infers that Manech may have survived the war, even though he has not returned. With the help of a private detective (Ticky Holgado) and the financial support of her aunt Bénédicte (Chantal Neuwirth) and uncle Sylvain (Dominique Pinon), Mathilde sets out to uncover the truth. Through flashbacks we learn that Manech (Gaspard Ulliel "Strayed") was in the troubled Bingo Crépuscule trench, and that he and four other soldiers were sentenced to death for purposefully causing severe injuries to their hands in order to escape the futile combat. But instead of facing a firing squad, Manech and the other soldiers were simply left to live in the “no man’s land” outside the dangerous, muddy trenches. These scenes of the war are as intense and graphic as anything you’ve ever seen on the big screen. It's no surprise that the government is trying to cover up the situation, and everyone has a different story about what happened, each conflicting the one before. It can be difficult keeping track of the multitude of odd characters that Mathilde meets as she attempts to learn what happened to the men, and you'll understand why she doesn't believe any of them. The story's complexities might make you to miss some of the nuances, but Jeunet's charming seriocomic storytelling makes it easy to get caught up in Mathilde's quest. Using muted monochromatic colors to give the film the look of an old silent movie or a faded photograph, the film is beautifully held together by Angelo Badalamenti's gorgeous score, which adds to the epic nature of this rather erratic, overlong, but ultimately satisfying /drama.

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