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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 February 2013
Vincent Lindon is in a completely different role here to the husband he plays in the compulsive thriller 'Anything For Her'. In this film he is a sensitive working man who is entranced by the quiet, submissive allure of his son's teacher (Sandrine Kiberlain - 'L'Appartement', 'A Self-Made Hero', 'Petit Nicholas').

The film is a study of loneliness: the barren life of a single school teacher who exists on her own without friends or a lover; and of a man who is constrained by his male role as a manual worker but who also feels alone in a marriage where he has failed to find a way to reveal his inner thoughts to his wife. Such emptiness, however, cannot remain for long where there is a spark between two people.

Lindon and Kiberlain stumble through a minefield of conflicting conscience, attempting to reconcile new feelings with old loyalties and their sense of morality. Of all the questions raised by the film, the most significant is probably: 'Do the central characters leave the film with a greater understanding of themselves or each other?'

Another fine example of the capacity of French cinema, more than any other, to produce films of emotional complexity and sensitivity. Bravo!
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on 13 December 2012
This film represents the first time that I have ever seen Sandrine Kiberlain and Vincent Lindon. As a result of this particular film, it appears that I have missed a great deal, an omission that I intend to rectify over the next months.

I am amazed to see critics comment on the lack of "eventful" action. What has happened to viewers? Do they expect CGI and explosions all the time? This is, quite simply, a wonderfully acted little masterpiece. Vincent Lindon is fascinating as a manual worker who seems perfectly happy with his lot in life, until he meets his son's enigmatic teacher (Sandrine Kiberlain). She embodies an undoubtedly disappointed woman, although, apart from one clue in a telephone message from her mother, there is no definite answer as to what that sadness relates to. Her ability to express herself is through the violin, whilst Vincent Lindon's is through his work as a builder.

An attraction of opposites is a common ploy in films, but, here, there is a sublety lacking in so many other films. The attraction between the two is mainly conveyed by embarrassed glances and the quality of the acting means that this is eminently watchable, as it is done by two consummate actors. There are two scenes which are almost unbearably beautiful to watch, and many more which will stay in your memory.

Please watch this. You will not regret it (unless of course, you want CGI-generated films). Quality and good acting are what make films masterpieces. This qualifies on those two counts.
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on 19 August 2014
This was an excellent film which really had a very powerful message. It had all of the elements; lots of emotions, passion, and romantic suspense. The plot was simple; an (apparently) happily married man with a devoted family falls for the attractive and somewhat mysterious village school teacher. The Chemistry is present and sets the stage for a story that could have gone in many directions. One could debate whether or not there was a happy ending. I personally thought that the ending was perfect and would not have wanted it to end in any other fashion. The background scenery of the small village and portrayal of the daily life of a French family was heartwarming. All of the characters were very decent people who were caught up in the emotions and challenges that life presents.
Now, I need to find more good movies featuring the same actors and directors. If you can handle sub titles, you will really enjoy this film !
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 January 2015
Slight spoilers

I was hoping this film would be an understated gem, but sadly it just misses the mark. The acting is very good, both Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain being outstanding and well matched, so the problem lies elsewhere. The film is a kind of reworking of Brief Encounter, but the comparison shows up the insipid direction of this effort. A middle-aged builder falls in love with his son's teacher, reciprocally, and finds himself completely overwhelmed, perhaps even more so because so little is said between any of the characters. Lindon does brilliantly with the role, but the visuals are, in the end, nothing more than pretty, and never cut through to match the intensity of the feelings. Some sort of visual equivalent is needed, particularly when nothing is said. The sense of place is minimal, the interiors bland - probably based to an extent on the Danish painter Hammershoi, whose poster the teacher has on her wall. But there is none of the magic of that artist's austerity. In terms of the way family life is shown, a feeling of banality is hard to escape, because the director Stephane Brize has not managed to get under the surface. In Brief Encounter the visuals are very strong, the dialogues and voice-over intense - the opposite of here. Another comparison might be with the recent German film Free Fall, where there is a parallel situation of the wife being pregnant. In that film the husband falls for another man. This in itself makes less difference than the much more full-on treatment, again with matching visual expression, so that by the end you really feel something. Here you just feel, as Barbara starts to sing on the soundtrack and the shot pulls away from a window enough for us to see a picturesque geranium in a pot, how much more could have been got into this. It is paper-thin where the actors, particularly Lindon, could have erupted like a volcano on the screen. Instead we are just left with the wind blowing through a few trees, and the feeling that the whole thing is too insubstantial.
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on 20 January 2013
Particularly from Sandrine Kiberlain, who has an ethereal look. The scenes with her ex-husband are so sensitively performed. Finally, the interviews with director and cast are among the most revealing I've ever seen
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on 31 August 2013
Just loved this movie for its delicacy and shyness of the characters giving so much depth to what could have been just another romance.
Sandrine Chamberlain so beautiful.
I will watch this again .. and again ..
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on 7 June 2014
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Another example of the French cinematic skill with matters romantic. In this case not the usual couple of Parisian intellectuals with lots of time and a thesaurus but rather using more typical materials. The male lead, a builder, actually looks like a builder and is not given to philosophising (he's from the Yorkshire part of France); the female lead is wonderfully played as someone who is a stranger to real intimacy, a permanent wanderer. Rather than being a film about philandering this is a film about yearning, at times almost excruciatingly so.
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on 17 September 2015
Seldom have I seen such a stunning history of a common man and a school teacher who also plays violin.
Involuntarily attracting each other their emotions grow to a crescendo of heartbreak decisions
This could happen to any well-married man meeting a school teacher looking for perfect love.
Duty and romance compete. I could weep
This was so moving I could not forget and wanted this feeling to remain with me as treasure in my heart
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on 17 February 2016
This film does not merit the plaudits here - I am at a loss to see how it warranted the critical acclaim at whatever festivals. Comparisons with Brief Encounter are baseless. There are many yawn-worthy ponderous parts in the film to no good effect whatsoever. Continental films can skilfully often use protracted shots of certain scenes to excellent effect. Any attempt here by the director is amateurish in the extreme. Sorry, not worth the money at all.
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